Moonraker

The Forest

Written by: PP on 06/06/2022 18:51:25

If The Lawrence Arms played skate punk Southern California style, Moonraker is how they would sound like. Their third album "The Forest" combines Midwestern punk style gravel with tight skate punk guitars and a roaring dual-vocals approach that'll take you straight back to bands like the aforementioned and Pennywise (instrumentally) to name but a few. It's a tried and tested formula, but one that carries itself with exactly the right kind of reverberating melody to grab along fans accustomed to listening to bands like MakeWar, Pass Away, The Holy Mess, The Falcon et al.

Coming back to the dual vocals, they are very much the driving force behind Moonraker's expression. David Green (drums) has a voice drenched in gravel and simultaneously an explosive, rowdy style, which is a perfect contrast to the cleaner approach of their primary vocalist Nick Schambra. Together, they have a dynamic that's simply awesome when they trade alternating lines, best demonstrated in songs like "My First Rodeo" or "The Great Glass Elevator". It creates a flurry of high-energy punk rock vibes and beer-fueled sing-along sessions that catch on immediately from the first listen.

"Autumn" is another great example where breakneck speed shredding combines with coarse vocals to deliver a solid, textbook example of how Midwestern punk rock is supposed to sound like. But despite a couple of bangers scattered across the album, most of "The Forest" is fairly straightforward. Too much so, in fact. It's a sound you'll have heard plenty of times before, executed in various forms of gravel and non-gravel as is also the case here.

More room should be given to David Green's scratchy vocals because his contributions feel like the highlights of almost every track on the album, if for no other reason but to see whether a Brendan Kelly/Chris McCaughan interplay could exist with Moonraker as well? Plus, to be perfectly frank, Schambra's clean vocals don't exactly feel effortless in the mix.

That said, "The Forest" is a decent Midwestern punk record even if it's not challenging the throne in the genre. The best songs are excellent, but consistency is lacking. If they can write an album's worth of songs in the vein of those mentioned in this review, then we're talking.

Download: My First Rodeo, The Great Glass Elevator, Autumn, Mouth Full Of Rust
For the fans of: The Lawrence Arms, The Holy Mess, MakeWar, Pass Away, The Falcon
Listen: Facebook

Release date 13.05.2022
Tiny Dragon Music / Bearded Punk Records / Bypolar Records / No Time Records

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