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Moscow Olympics

Courtesy of MySpace

fun MySpace

Little information can be found on the band Moscow Olympics online, with its minimalistic MySpace page and a bare minimum of information provided by its obscure American label company, Lavender Records. After scouring the Internet, I realized I knew but three facts about the band — Moscow Olympics is a four-man band from the Philippines, and the lack of U.S. buzz surrounding the band betrays its immense talent.

Their debut album, Cut the World, transports listeners into a drifting, and at times discordant, world of enchanting instrumentals and haunting vocals. The seven tracks carry an obvious influence from the ’80s music scene, to the point where an unknowing listener could easily mistake Moscow Olympics as one of the typical shoegaze, post-punk bands from the UK. One blogger, Alistair Fitchett of the blog Unpopular, aptly described the band as “Blueboy leaping from the clouds and snogging The Wake in the sunset whilst drifting down over the Oresund bridge.”

The band rises above your typical dream-pop fanfare, though, with its complex and always evolving instrumentalism. Within each song, layers of guitar, drums and distorted vocals progress at the hands of musically mature artists. In the opening track, “What if Left Unsaid,” a typical guitar melody snowballs into a flawlessly meshed progression of synths and riffs, which is then topped off by the subtle introduction of barely-there vocals. The rest of the tracks follow a similar pattern, although the base guide of the band in no way hinders their originality or musicality. Each song carries its own stylistic flair and unique progressions.

The best track of the album, the self-titled “Cut the World,” builds slowly but surely into a dreamy, effervescent amalgamation of clear, minimalistic guitar chords, heavy reverb, keyboard synths and tremolo vocals. The song never veers off into ambiguously messy sound but stays impressively on track by perfectly balancing instruments, vocals and effects.

Listeners may feel as if they are simply floating up and down through various layers of musicality, fully immersed within the soundscape Moscow Olympics creates so effortlessly.

— By Entertainment Editor
Ginny Chae

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fun.

Courtesy of MySpace

fun MySpace

Call them unoriginal, but the name of this three-man band describes their music perfectly: fun. Lead singer of the now defunct band The Format, Nate Ruess, paired up with instrumentalist Andrew Dost and Jack Antonoff, ex-members of Anathallo and Steel Train, respectively, to create a whirlwind of an album that cooks together show-tunes, folk, indie pop and an impressively varied instrumentalism to create a perfect slice of feel-good pop.

On Aim and Ignite, Ruess’s distinct voice soars within each song, whether it be the gospel-chorus and voice-belting style of “Benson Hedges” or the lulling croons of “The Gambler.” Ruess’s vocal and range is well-sampled in the album’s opening song, “Be Calm,” which starts off with a somber, violin overture and tumbles into an back-and-forth pull between upbeat staccato beats and blooming instrumentals and rocker style rhythms.

Each song, even the ballads and folksy ones, are bursting with refreshing energy and joy for music. The very danceable “All the Pretty Girls” brings an updated, poppy version of 70s rock, with its synthesized voices and guitar chords. The call-and-response duet between Ruess and a female vocalist on “At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used To Be)” is delightful with its cheeky lyrics and strange but catchy mix of sing-song children-like rhymes, an interlude of beach-like instrumentalism of xylophones and slowly belting trumpets and Broadway-like solo.

— By Entertainment Editor
Ginny Chae