steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"Seduce and Paralyze" CD


Genre: rock, indie rock

Brooklyn, NY

Dec 2, 2008

Brooklyn is home to a whole host of rock bands, so if you want to stand out you need to be pretty good. Spirited quartet Moosejaww seems to have its priorities straight, working with a zig-zaggy, melodic formula informed by the likes of The Promise Ring, Lucy's Fur Coat, as well as several nineties-era "alternative" rock bands. Seduce and Paralyze's best asset is the positively charming "Kitty," a slick and springy pop song with a satisfying feel-good chorus. There's a bit of Radiohead in there, especially in the well-segued falsetto bits, but the overall effect is more traditionally pop. Ex-Vancouverite Seamus Blake's vocals are a strange combination of melody and off-key monotony, which is somewhat counterintuitive but remarkably effective. The band exudes power and depth on blistering highlights "Rollercoaster" and "Anaconda" but also pulls off pretty slow song "Coming Down" and soft "Lucia" famously. Only occasionally does Moosejaww's formula slip into mediocrity, most noticeably near the disc's end (shoddy "Going, Going, Gone," wallowing "It Takes Two to Know One.")

Overall, Seduce and Paralyze is a well-constructed, infectious rock album that struck me as a pleasant surprise. I don't know if I will remember Moosejaww five years from now - part of that depends on how their career develops - but this record is certainly worthy of repeated rotation. With goodness as their baseline, and greatness at their peaks, these four Brooklynites have replenished my faith in the currently inconsistent independent music scene.

moosejaww's myspace


youuuuuuuutube!: "betsy" live

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 10 tracks, distributed by the band, released 2008]