Album Review: WhiteMoor – Pause and Effect

Album Review: WhiteMoor – Pause and Effect

imageLearning how to do more with less is the mark of a good band. No matter how good you are at writing hooks, no matter how tight your band is, overproduction can neuter your sound if you don’t get it right. Derby indie rock quintet WhiteMoor made a conscious decision on their new record to pull back from the excesses that were noticeable on their previous one, 2012’s ‘Horizons’; it was a slick-sounding rock record that sounded a little lacking when it came to personality. There’s nothing like deciding to scale things back to make a band discover what really makes them tick; and so we arrive at their third album, ‘Pause and Effect’, trailed recently by the widescreen noise-pop of ‘A Cage For The Animals’, which sounds a little like something The Verve could have made in their 90s heyday if they’d traded in their blustery psychedelic rock for something that hit a little harder and thrown in some nagging synth hooks for good measure.

The cinematic tendencies of old have been toned down, deployed only when necessary. ‘Hollywood’ opens proceedings at a high dramatic pitch – strings, piano, timpani and so on – before moving things up several gears with its powerful opening riff and multiple melodic flourishes, its final third dipping into atmospheric space rock and an irresistible half-time groove. Frontman Barrington Mole delivers a commanding vocal performance on ‘Be The Last’, the track’s bluesy tempo bolstered by rock-steady drumming and some well-placed gang vocals. ‘Dark Sparks’ is reminiscent of very early Muse, and there’s a good-sized helping of Radiohead circa ‘Hail To The Thief’ on ‘She Makes Me Fly’, but while the band’s influences are definitely notable, it’s not as if they’re in thrall to them.

WhiteMoor – A Cage For the Animals – From New Album Pause and Effect on MUZU.TV.

Slight problems arise when the album reverts to standard indie fare, with ‘Codes’ coming a little too close to Oasis territory for comfort, but the band are at their best when they’re thundering through the likes of ‘Ghosts’, which is forceful and dramatic without tipping over into histrionics, or the muscular-sounding penultimate track ‘Masquerade’, which paints WhiteMoor as a band well on the way to discovering themselves afresh. There are times when ‘Pause And Effect’ feels inescapably like a transitional record; time will tell whether they’re ready of discarding some overfamiliar tropes, but the progression since their 2010 debut is notable, and they’re capable of even better things.

3.5/5

‘Pause And Effect’ by WhiteMoor is released on Saturday July 25th on SoundHub Studios.

WhiteMoor links: Website|Facebook|Twitter

Words by Gareth O’Malley (@vetusmemoria)