For all of the stress that we’ve collectively experienced in the year 2020, it’s actually been a pretty good start to a new decade in rock n’ roll history, and to understand what I mean, I’d recommend taking a peek at the new single and music video from Moon Fever, “Undertaker,” as soon as possible. Arranged like a modern alternative rocker but packing a lot more of a punch than most of the mainstream music in its genre I’ve had the chance to hear this season, “Undertaker” is every bit the dark dirge its title would suggest it is, but undeniably a melodic one just the same.
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The guitar parts in this track are actually a lot more of a role player than they are the main attraction in this performance, but even with this being the case, I wouldn’t say that the brawn of an old school rock sound is sacrificed in the name of radio-born efficiencies. The superficial frills are all left on the sidelines in this performance, and I would say that the substance of the track comes as much from the relationship between the lyrics and the musicality behind them as it does the content of the verses on their own.
This lead vocal is really warm and, dare I say, pop-accessible in a couple of climactic moments here and there. Though it’s missing the trademark falsetto, there’s definitely an Andrew Stockdale-style virtuosity with regards to how the gripping voice leads us in and out of the collage of colorful melodies at the forefront of them mix, and whether we’re watching the video or listening to the single by itself, there’s nothing powerful enough to diminish the potency of the harmony that creeps out of the silence and eventually overtakes every firework this instrumentation sets off.
“Undertaker” has one of the least compressed master mixes I’ve heard in a new rock single this year, which further distinguishes Moon Fever’s sound from that of their contemporaries in the underground and the mainstream the same. They want the rough edges left exactly where they were formed, and although some would critically accuse them of putting out an intentionally gruff groove beneath the vocal in this track, I have to give them praise for this feature — whether it was a deliberate act or not, this kind of take-no-prisoners attitude is exactly what the rock genre has been in need of so badly these last few years.
Moon Fever deliver another crusher in their 2020 campaign with the release of “Undertaker” this October, and though I came into this review with some high expectations about what I was going to hear, I’m pleased to know that this band is continuing to evolve as they prepare to drop a proper debut album on us at some point in the near future. They’re not as pretentious as a lot of millennial groups tend to be, and that alone makes theirs quite the rare find as we look at an emerging generation of provocative — though frequently self-centered — heavy music makers.