Listen Up: Wednesday, May 09, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Moth

Provisions, Fiction, and Gear (Virgin)

By Christy Goldfinch

The Next Big Sound tours erratically around the world, choosing its layovers at whim: college-rocking Athens, grungy Seattle, emocore D.C. Dayton, Ohio, had its 15 minutes in the early ‘90s, when indie-heads swarmed on Guided by Voices and the Breeders. The lo-fi excitement spread down the street to Cincinnati, where Brad Stenz, also inspired by fellow Ohioans Nine Inch Nails and the late Dead Boys, formed a garage band called Moth.

Armed with quirky lyrics and a hardcore beat, Moth toured, recorded, broke up, regrouped, and toured some more. By the time Virgin Records “discovered” Moth last year, Stenz and fellow vocalist/guitarist Bob Gayol had merged their muses into a slick, smart indie sound ready for the majors. The 12 tracks on Provisions, Fiction, and Gear mix Weezer-style geek rock with Oasis Brit-guitar, Cheap Trick power pop, and Pink Floyd psychedelia. Far from being derivative, Moth creates its own sound from the mélange of its stimuli. It does this by using all of them at once.

The first single, “I See Sound,” opens with your basic plinked guitar and alt-muted vocals — “I do care what you have to say / But I’m sure I’m having a very bad day.” Then the vocals speed up, the guitar distorts, and the thick bass kicks in. Then the beat goes poppy. Then blistering guitar solo. Then intricate drum solo. Then wall-of-sound arena rock. The changes are riffs in themselves, and each one is a thrill.

All of Moth’s elements are old and stale; all its songs are fresh and new. The musicianship is tight, the hooks are infectious, and the love-and-heartbreak lyrics are flawlessly crafted. If the Next Big Sound is rock ’n’ roll, Moth is ready for its close-up.


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