Bob Moses - Days Gone By

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  • Few acts in recent memory have bridged the gap between rock and dance music like Bob Moses. Depending on the track, Jimmy Vallance and Tom Howie sound like they belong in a blues bar or a packed nightclub, and they flit between the two modes effortlessly. The New York duo's first few records on Scissor & Thread played with that dichotomy. Take the slow-burning highlight "Hands To Hold." They cleverly presented that track in two ways: an acoustic version centered around Howie's vocals, and a club version showing off the kind of sweaty groove that Bob Moses kick up so well. Last year, they signed to indie giant Domino with an EP that found them in a comfortable middle ground. They stay in that zone on debut album Days Gone By, bolstering their sound with stronger hooks and tighter songs. It's the pair's most professional and accomplished work, though also their least adventurous. With its generally moody attitude, Days Gone By can feel a bit one-note, which is partly due to how well the producers have established their sound in just three years. From the moment the foreboding piano and chunky drum machines drop into sulking opener "Like It Or Not," Vallance and Howie make their presence known. Most of Days Gone By is a variation on the same themes and ingredients: dissolving relationships, infidelity, wounded guitar licks and a warm low-end pulse. These two are exceedingly good at this. The way they buoy their songs on deep, enveloping basslines gives the music a sultry embrace. Talking about his new album with Billboard, Howie said, "Our production and our writing process is basically the same." Which is key to understanding how their music works: sound design and production flourishes are as important as the guitars, lyrics and songwriting. "Talk" shows how Bob Moses can work the dance floor, with its heavy, clanking beat and a catchy chorus that streams out naturally like streaks of sunlight. The strong production values and candle-lit atmospheres—particularly the reverb on the vocals and the soft-focus feel of the keyboards—keep Days Gone By's wee-hours flicker engaging, even when the minor key melodies mush together. This is the kind of debut album that comes after years of hard work, one that perfects a sound rather than re-invents it. Bob Moses aren't trying to surprise you, and if you like what they've done before, then you'll find lots to love here. Ironically, even if Days Gone By is the band's least club-ready record, it falls victim to the trap that ensnares most techno albums: too much of the same, all lined up in a row. The duo remains an electrifying live act, where they link their songs together like a DJ set. Instead of capturing that feeling, Days Gone By focuses on the band's smoky, bedroom-ready style. It's only half the story, but it's still a pretty good one.
  • Tracklist
      01. Like It Or Not 02. Talk 03. Before I Fall 04. Too Much Is Never Enough 05. Tearing Me Up 06. Keeping Me Alive 07. Nothing At All 08. Days Gone By 09. Writing On The Wall 10. Touch And Go