MOSS JAW “Embody” (Already Dead)

This quartet of indie-kid throwbacks has it down. Although hailing from Kalamazoo, Michigan, Moss Jaw may as well have formed in Portland, Oregon, or Olympia, Washington, or somewhere else out there around the turn of the century. Because they should be on Barsuk. For some reason, they’re on Already Dead. (Not that that’s a bad thing, but this is my narrative, so hang with it.) But really, in a closely adjacent parallel universe, they’re on Barsuk.

And what are the hallmarks of something like that? Tight, well-envisioned arrangements, controlled playing, intricate melodies, emotive vocals. The momentum is always forward, whether motorik or propulsive, the songs collegiate. And where Moss Jaw ends, we begin, cloaked in the universal angst of getting older and trying to figure it all out. Isn’t that the vibe that good tunes tap into? For us smart ones, anyway.

Moss Jaw has it down.

But I’m getting older, and I’m not “the kids,” and there’s a modicum of “figured out” to my outlook (insomuch as I’ve figured out that it’s almost impossible to have anything figured out). Still, Moss Jaw serves as a hard kick of nostalgia to my heartstrings, and if I can survive the coronary that’s bound to have caused, I may just give this tape another spin.