After the critically-acclaimed releases of their two LPs, ‘Blush’ (2016) and ‘I’ll Keep You In Mind, From Time to Time’ (2014), Canterbury’s Moose Blood has a lot of expectations to keep up to with their highly anticipated third new album, ‘I Don’t Think I Can Do This Anymore’.
Any Moose Blood fan who has dipped their toes into this record would immediately notice that the band is headed for a mature direction with ‘I Don’t Think I Can Do This Anymore’. Noting that the band “always write like it might be the last album”, lead guitarist Mark Osborne explains that there’s almost a circularity to this album when compared with their past two.
“The first is full of songs written by enthusiastic, excited kids who just wanted to get their music out there. ‘Blush’ was more about struggling with some of what came along with that change of lifestyle and ‘I Don’t Think I Can Do This Anymore’ is really us trying to work through some of what has happened in our lives as a result of doing this band full time. We’ve put everything into this album.”
With the opening track ‘Have I Told You Enough’, lead vocalist Eddy Brewerton poured the agony and heartache of being away from his younger daughter on the road. He explains, “She is getting older now and is finding me being away for months at a time harder than she did before. I just wanted to write a song that she could always listen to and know that she is everything to me.”
The pace was swiftly picked up in ‘Talk In Your Sleep’, which features one of the most memorable hooks and lyrics in the entire record. The song has a warm and upbeat feel, and it reminisces about a past relationship and the pangs of moving on with time.
For the single’s music video, the band has also worked with long-time collaborator, director Lewis Cater (who also directed ‘Honey’, ‘Have I Told You Enough’, ‘Knuckles’) and it featured the band performing in an empty space with changing fluorescents and strangers walking past the band members to simulate the passing of time. Eddy explains that the band wanted a “moodier, darker approach” with this album. He continues, “The house we shot in was incredible. Apparently, it was featured in an episode of Grand Designs (a British homebuilding TV series) once!”
However, the promising sound of the record seems to reach its peak with ‘Just Outside’ and ‘You Left in the Worst Way’, as the similar chord progressions and lyrical themes ensue. To put it bluntly, it was honestly quite a struggle to get through the second-half of the record – track after track, there is no variation to the songs and the record just provides nothing inspiring to sink my heart into. ‘Pull Me From the Floor’ and ‘Walk All Day With You’ breaks the monotony albeit for a while, offering a little more in its soaring choruses and emotive songwriting for the latter.
If you managed to get through to the end, the last two tracks – Promise Me and It’s Too Much – are my personal favourites from the entire record: Promise Me scores in its ending post-rock guitar solo, showcasing Moose Blood’s versatility in experimenting with the genre. It’s Too Much is emo right from the get-go, and Eddy Brewerton’s grit and indomitable spirit can be felt right from the heart with his crispy clean vocals. If there’s one song that you ever need to listen in this record that best explains what Moose Blood has been trying to do in I Don’t Think I Can Do This Anymore, It’s Too Much would be it.
These two tracks are arguably Moose Blood at their finest and it reminds me why I love the band so much in the first place: the heartfelt songwriting and mellow guitar riffs just complements each other perfectly, creating an immersive soundscape no other bands could ever come close to.
‘I Don’t Think I Can Do This Anymore’ is a record that would probably receive a mixed reception. I feel that Moose Blood is trying to get out of their comfort zones and create a different record from what their fans are used to: the record fits well in the alternative/indie rock genre, while their previous two albums are slightly more emo/pop-punk. Not a drastic or reasonably bad change for sure, as Moose Blood could never create a bad song (just don’t attempt covering another My Chemical Romance song… just don’t).
If you’re looking for a punchy track like the ones they have dropped in their last two albums, you definitely won’t find any in this record. Maybe I just don’t dig their new sound, but ‘I Don’t Think I Can Do This Anymore’ feels like an album good enough to listen occasionally on shuffle mode… amidst 15,000 songs in my iTunes library.
We recommend: ‘It’s Too Much’, ‘Promise Me’, ‘Pull Me From the Floor’!