If you’ve been a part of the Montreal rock scene anywhere between the last 2 to 5 years, then the name “MOOCH‘‘ is guaranteed to ring a bell. I’ve had the pleasure of sharing the stage with the doomers in question, and I must say these boys do not disappoint. In fact, their latest album Hounds isn’t new for me at all, since, through social media, fans were able to follow some interesting parts of the recording, production and release of the band’s first full-length LP.
There’s no denying that MOOCH are pushing their brand of heavy rock on a path laid down by 90s heavyweights Kyuss, Queens of The Stone Age and Fu Manchu. It certainly helps that the project was recorded in the birthplace of said bands in Joshua Tree, California, with none other than stoner-rock legend Brant Björk. The album is filled with stank-face-inducing grooves and saturated guitar riffs. Frontman, guitarist and vocalist Ben Cornell lays his baritone vocals for the catchy hooks and fitting lyrics. There is also an uncanny similarity between Ben’s voice and Jim Morrison’s of The Doors, adding to that psychedelic vibe. Alex Segreti keeps the pace interesting at all turns and often sounds very much in unison with the guitar and bass compositions, giving meaningful impact to the riffs. The melodies are completed with Julian Iacovantuono’s bass playing, a recent addition to the instrumentation as MOOCH have moved on from a rock duo to a powerhouse trio.
The production is spot on, acclimating just as well to the heavy metal bangers as to the trippier, more mellow guitar sections. As a whole, I wouldn’t say that Hounds is a pure stoner rock album, which is very much a good thing. The healthy dose or blues and references to the 60s keeps the sonic territory refreshing. I can only encourage MOOCH to stray further from the genre’s tropes and embody a stronger and more distinct identity as a modern, independent rock band. I must admit that, as much as I love stoner rock, I’ve recently grown tired of the repetitive nature of the songs and aesthetics present in the scene. However, having now listened to Hounds with a fresh set of ears, it more than holds up on it’s own. “Super Big Things” is a spacious yet heavy tune, that, for me personally, embodies most of the great qualities from the LP. “Resident Sleeper” is also one of my favorite tracks, and has been a part of my playlists for some time now.
Hounds is an impressive piece of work, and I sincerely believe it deserves more recognition, especially within its own scene. I’m already looking forward to MOOCH’s next release and hope to discover another side of the band’s creativity.
Written by Davide Spinato
*Edited by Dominic Abate