Let us start with the bottom line about Missing Peace, the debut album from UK collective The Moods; and that is be sure to make another space on your list of album of the year contenders because quite simply it is one essential exploration for ears and thoughts. Offering twelve slices of virulently infectious, politically sharp incitements bred in a fusion of drum & bass, reggae, hip-hop, and EDM with more besides, Missing Peace relentlessly grabs body and imagination with its unique tapestry of sound and creative contagion.
The album’s release caps off an already potent and successful year for the ten-piece of producers, poets, and musicians from Manchester and the North West. Their debut single, Joy, was a critically acclaimed outing sparking hungry attention from media and fans alike while live the 2014 emerging project has thrilled and increasingly elevated their reputation and sound, the latter with the addition live this year of classically-trained violinist Alice. That first single also spawned a video featuring Steve Evets (Looking for Eric) which has been entered for the BFI London Film Festival while two of The Moods’ songs have been grabbed for the sound track of British movie Strangeways Here We Come, a film starring Michelle Keegan, Elaine Cassidy, Lauren Socha, and Nina Wadia set for release in the spring of 2018. Missing Peace though is the pinnacle of the band’s year and indeed their rise within the UK music scene to date; an attention demanding, spirit rewarding proposal seriously hard to pull away from once infested with its viral sounds.
Cored by the four pronged temptation of vocalists Mark Cunningham and John Horrocks alongside rappers Kolega and Explicit, The Moods instantly gets under the skin with their new single P.O.P (Profit Over People). The album’s opener throbs in ears with vocal prowess and electronic bubbling, beats soon adding their thick pulse to the rousing coaxing. The keys of Paul Holmes continue to entice as insight loaded rapping strides through the atmospheric catchiness, melody throated tones following as the song magnetically twists and turns; every moment suggestive bait to greedily devour.
The following Inception is no different, the flames of brass and reggae/ska kissed keys smouldering lures upon the rhythmic shuffle of drummers Phil Horrocks/Chris Barrett and Dave O’Rourke’s darkly toned bass. The vocal unity once again simply captivates, words and expression a snappy reflection matched by the crackle of the sounds around them whilst the song’s chorus is pure listener involvement enticement.
The misty entrance of next up Keep Your Powder Dry breeds a pulsating trespass of electro punk, another strain to The Mood sound fuelled by instinctive infectiousness. Its raw instincts and tone is masterfully temped by the interrupting harmonic turn and the electronic shimmer which glistens throughout, casting an irresistible spell before Bad Boy with its haunting piano within a streetwise stroll enthrals. Caught in the golden glazed tendrils of Will Earl’s trumpet, the song has something of Dizraeli and the Small Gods to its lively evocative adventure.
The shadowy saunter of Black Triangle taunts and entices next, Kolega and Explicit exchanging their lyrical contemplations before Cunningham and Horrocks merge their harmonic intimation; this all within a psyche haunting smoulder of sound and suggestion. The song with a whisper of Lazy Habits to it is delicious, dramatic and seductive and sharing yet another aspect to The Moods sound and imagination, a multi-faceted proposition expanded again by the pop infused and insistently compelling Gotta Get A Hold.
Joy as ever is a beacon of the band’s sound and invention, a flirtatious wave of warm melodies and skittish rhythms within a climate of floating harmonies, all over a rhythmic throb which alone arouses feet, hips, and spirit. Some songs are destined to haunt the memory and passions; this is decidedly one with addiction in its hands.
The unpredictable nature and ever turning sound of Atmosphere is more of a slow burner on the appetite but simply grows in persuasion and potency with every eventful listen while Hidden making a similar initial impression with its individual pop infused sway equally grows in strength over time if never quite to the heights of those around it in personal tastes.
Speaking Tongues though needs mere seconds to get under the skin. It too rises from gentle electronic dew on the senses; a rhythmic pulsing driving things with its dark thud as vocals provoke and suggest. With a dirty lining to its heart and drama, the track imposes and arouses; its subsequent intrusive canter an instinctive stirring of body and emotions.
Missing Peace concludes with firstly the reggae courting Together We Will Fight Them, a sultry defiance nurtured suasion with teeth to its nature and fire to its heart, and finally its title track, a similarly woven companion in style and tone but with its own individual and highly irresistible lobbying of body and mind. The track is superb, sharing everything magnificent about The Moods sound and creativity in its own original anthemic adventure.
We can easily carry on waxing lyrical about Missing Peace but will leave with a full and lively suggestion that you check it and The Moods out with haste; you will not be disappointed.
Missing Peace is out now via A1(M) Records digitally and on CD/Vinyl.
Pete RingMaster 02/10/2017
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