Review Summary: We get it, you smoke
Eddie Brewerton sings about girls and cigarettes in every song. Smoking, having cigarettes on his person, letting a girl borrow one of his cigarettes, borrowing a girl’s cigarettes - this is the minutiae Eddie finds essential to his storytelling lyrics. Details are a very important part of building a narrative, but Eddie seems to fundamentally misunderstand the point. Repeating a variation on the same detail in every song adds nothing - it conveniently makes all the songs fit together into the same narrative sure - but it severely devalues each individual song. What I get out of “And you don’t leave like the smoke in my lungs” in “Talk in Your Sleep” is the same as what I get out of “Stumble through the door with the smell of wine on your breath and cigarettes but I can't blame you” in “Boston.” Did he really need to throw in “I could be anywhere as long as you're there, smoking my cigarettes, inhaling my hair” in “Can We Stay Like This,” or “I saw you lose your mind, you saw me as a silhouette, you needed cigarettes - that’s when you said ‘it’s nice not being here’” in “Just Outside?”
I feel the need to drill in this point about the cigarette references because it relates back to Moose Blood and their missed potential. Their first I'll Keep You in Mind, From Time to Time
had the same storytelling about cigarettes, but the songs were more fleshed out, more varied in structure, and there was this feeling of “oh maybe they’ll build on this down the line.” I don't think I Can Do This Anymore
offers a hard stop to any sense of faith in Moose Blood - every single song is still about smoking with girls, and every song is the same stale, tired, derivative indie/emo I’ve heard a million times. To be fair Moose Blood don’t bring up cigarettes in every single song, but it certainly feels like it, and that’s what counts goddamnit!
Moose Blood do the sad songs with upbeat music thing that’s been done to death by Dashboard Confessional clones and Brand New disciples, and their “I’m stripped bare and I’m raw, look at me” brand of emo lyrics doesn’t carry much weight; if wasn’t for the fact that this album barely crosses the 30 minute mark it would be unlistenable. When it comes to the bearable aspects of this record "All The Time" and its catchy “I don’t knoooowwwwwwww iiittttttt” shaky-voice chorus comes to mind, and the closer "It’s Too Much" packs the biggest punch as it’s the only slow/moody/downtrodden track on the whole album - it’s just a shame that it’s an outlier and sounds nothing like the rest of the record.
Minus the cigarette talk, Eddie lyrics are shockingly short on detail or substance. One can basically summarize all the tracks to the theme of “I remember I was with you, you unnamed person, and I didn’t feel good, I’m not gonna say why, but damn did I not feel good.” As far as I’m concerned every Moose Blood song takes place in empty space, and devoid of character or substance the songs fit in more as sketches than complete narratives. Moose Blood set the stage for anthemic, melancholic emo out the gate with the first song on their first record, "Cherry." With its refrain of “I was young and irresponsible,” 2014 Moose Blood instilled me with a sense of hope, but three albums later and the band has been consistently average since the final note of "Cherry" rang out. Moose Blood isn’t a band with potential uncharacteristically underachieving. After two subpar records in a row, it’s clear that they’re performing perfectly at their level. Hovering around average, smelling like cigarettes.