Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Closure in Moscow — First Temple
(Bird's Robe no#, 2009/2021, CD / LP / DL)
Closure in Moscow — Pink Lemonade
(Bandcamp Sabretusk SABRE001, 2014, CD / 2LP / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2022-04-24
In the pages of Exposé, we’ve reviewed dozens of contemporary bands that draw stylistic inspiration from Porcupine Tree, and dozens more that take after Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd, and other giants of the 70s. With Closure in Moscow (CiM), we have a different stream of progressive rock — the one originated by The Mars Volta — that we haven’t talked about much. The music of this style is characterized by complex arrangements, high energy, and intense vocals. This Melbourne band was started back in 2006 by Mansur Zennelli (guitar, vocals), Michael Barrett (guitar), Salvatore Aidone (drums), Duncan Millar (bass), and Christopher de Cinque (lead vocals), but it’s only with these reissues of two of their albums that I’ve become aware of them. First Temple dates from 2009, and features twelve relatively concise tracks, eschewing the more lengthy excursions The Mars Volta is prone to. The track titles are comprehensible, though “A Night at the Spleen” is a little odd. The fast tempos and dense arrangements are contrasted with a few quieter sections utilizing acoustic guitar and atmospheric synths, as on “Permafrost.” Then there are tracks like “Afterbirth,” with a super-precise riff assembled of very fast parts on drums, bass, and guitar, with crazy synths and high tenor vocals, all played at an improbably quick tempo — except when they suddenly change meter and feel for certain sections. It’s all quite impressive and entertaining, and I’m glad I’m now acquainted with this band. Pink Lemonade, from 2014, shows the band branching out a bit, with several tracks that venture into different territory. After the brief introductory track “The Fool,” they launch into the title track, which starts out like a typical CiM tune, but after six minutes takes a detour into sampled voices and sound effects before introducing guest singer Kitty Hart (credited with “Vocals and general insidious sauciness”) for a dream-like coda. Hart hangs around for the following track, “Neoprene Byzantine,” providing an unexpected psychedelic cabaret feel that morphs into further CiM intensity resembling a Sweet tune from the 70s augmented by excessive amphetamines. The album finishes with a version of the title track done in Japanese, sung by Midori Kurihara (“Vocals and general adorableness”) with a backing resembling video game music. In general, there’s a more psychedelic feel to the album, and the greater variety of sound might make it a better place for unfamiliar listeners to start.
Filed under: Reissues, 2021 releases, 2009 recordings, 2014 releases
Related artist(s): Closure in Moscow
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