The Black Moods

The Black Moods

Black Moods Masterpieces, 2012

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Turn this one up!

This Arizona power trio’s opening shot is a solid rock record, a half-hour of alternative-sounding rock that feels longer and more involved than that short run time suggests. Elements of ’90s alt-rock (STP, most notably), modern-day Nickelback (in sound and thankfully not lyrics) and Arctic Monkeys, and even a bit of blues influence all coalesce into an appealing whole.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Grunge holdovers like “Give It to Me” and garage rockers “Serves You Right,” “Like a Wiave” and “Can’t Sleep at Night” all could be good first singles; each one is a punchy, smart track with no pretension and just enough attitude to mask the vague feeling that one has heard this before. “Get Off My Back” and “Torn Up Dress” both have a swagger that recalls a diluted Guns ‘n’ Roses (so, Velvet Revolver), while “Don’t Let Them Get You Down” veers briefly into Daughtry-ballad territory, but thankfully Joshua Kennedy is smart enough to avoid the plodding midtempo pablum of the former’s songs.

The best number here is “Hey You,” which updates the classic ’90s rock sound for the present day, Kennedy’s sarcastic vocals and the guitars ringing together as one before a brief, effective solo. The staccato chorus break after that solo drives the song home, but the difference of light and shade, the subtle details woven in, elevate the piece above most standard rock fare.

“Judge Me” closes this out with a hybrid blues that would have fit in nicely on Stone Temple Pilots, that band’s 2010 reunion disc (though without Scott Weiland’s smirk). Kennedy and the rhythm section have created a dynamic – if somewhat derivative – piece of work here that deserves to be heard. Loud, preferably.

Rating: B

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