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May 18, 2009 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

Moron Says What Pop Up EP (self released)

Didn’t expect Auckland 4-grrrl group Moron Says What (MSW) to change their high school pop aesthetic from demo to EP, and I was pretty unsurprised when their toastie-wielding new disc arrived in the mail a few days ago. Everything about this group of minors squeals authentic love for Jonas Brothers, a subscription to Cosmo and a few musical chops here and there to boot. The EP’s packaging is a picture of a toastie, with a pop-out pyramid track listing, written in tomato sauce, and the CD itself is a tomato. Awwwwww.

MSW have got the stock angular guitar parts down, but where other New Zealand acts take those and boost into either mathematical (So So Modern) or brutal (Bang Bang Eche) lanes, MSW lean back into cheeseball keyboard melodies and shyly cheeky vocal parts masked behind a layer of sharp guitar. It’s hit and miss for the most part, the first two tracks, ‘Sleep’ and ‘Eat’, use the same tricks to the same end, neither really failing to ignite past the often vacuous ‘It’ll sound good live’ judgment. Whether for shyness or ‘lo-fiauthenticity’, the vocals on these two tracks are harder to make out—it gets mildly frustrating. Did I mention they’re still in high school though? Fuck, I was still in a terrible Tool covers band at that point. PROPS. The main redeeming factor on the album is the last track, ‘Natalie Touch Me There Again’. Laying off the ‘dance-punk’, guitar-driven shtick, they put out a catchy ode to a schoolmate, lamenting Vodafone and not being a boy on the way. Heavy on the repetitive keyboards, and with Alessandra Banal’s vocals properly discernible among the twee (but not that twee) keyboards, it’s the 16 year old girly anthem that’s more likely to be lapped up eagerly by people several years older.

Their thing is too-cute pop songs, which is going to be totally overbearing if they stick with it for a full length. It even gets a bit too much after four or five listens. But given that they still can’t drink (legally), have already attained a following that belies their age, and aren’t covering Jonas Brothers, it’s kinda exciting to think that they might grow up over the next few years and actually become a really good band. This is the cream of the high school crop (at least until TFF or Nevernudes release an EP): achingly happy, wry and sugar-coated pop. I can’t see them evolving their sound without losing their innate sense of playtime (or the name Moron Says What), but if they keep this sweetly punk-pop, they could probably charm their way out of maturing. Better than Jonas Brothers, still not as good as Hanson.


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