This is it, folks. We spent years telling our kids they were special, years encouraging them to be creative and let their imaginations run wild. No doubt this encouragement led to some fantastic art, but there was certainly some that were lacking. Fortunately, parents or instructors were typically there to steer these budding musicians along, telling them gently to “try something else” or “maybe play soccer instead.” But of course, there were always a few that slipped through the cracks.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present We Have the Moon. Formed in 2015, this Italian quartet didn’t just slip through the cracks, they slipped out of the asscrack of the universe and landed right in my lap when I naively plucked their Till the Morning Comes debut from our promo bin. In my defense, I’ve actually experienced decent metalcore electronica before — no, I’m not talking about The Browning or even Feed Her to the Sharks, but a little song called “Is Anyone Up?” by Germany’s own Eskimo Callboy. I spent the better part of my last semester in college obsessed with that song and its associated “sloppiest dance club ever” music video, and I held some hope that Moon would at least inspire that same adolescent charm. Oh, how wrong I was.
The first line of this album is “Raise your hands if you wanna have sex tonight!” and it doesn’t get much better from there. If you’ve heard We Butter the Bread with Butter, Attack Attack!, or any other “electronicore” act that abruptly flashed into existence in the wake of Myspace, you’ve basically heard what Moon are peddling. Expect kitschy dance synths, boomy chugging guitars, generic metalcore yells, and blatantly autotuned vocals wailing about partying the night away or some shit. This is the music of excessive hashtags and obnoxious Snapchat filters, open-mouth selfies and parties where the music is so loud you may as well drop Molly because it’s not like you can even hear the person next to you.
The difference, though, is just how goddamn bland this is. Whereas Eskimo Callboy at least have some sporadic energy about them, Moon just sound neutered and dull. Take first proper track “Till the Morning Comes,” which moves from a half-assed electronic theme to a chorus that sounds like it was pulled from a filler song on a bad K-pop album. Later choruses are either forgettable (“This Is What We Love The Most”) or so awkward you wish you could forget them (“Ghost Friend of Mine”). The bedrock of these songs, however, is clearly the synth parts, which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t sound like the result of dicking around on a cheap Walmart keyboard for a week and trying to make an album out of the result. Likewise, the guitars do almost nothing beyond adding some loudness to the mix and playing the most lifeless breakdowns imaginable, and even the songwriting is devoid of the style’s occasional silly tangents that at least make things amusing.
The worst thing, however, has to be the godawful clean vocals, which are both obnoxiously autotuned and delivered via a somewhat nasally inflection. Still, credit where credit’s due — not everything on Morning is bad. The modern rock production is serviceable and actually features a surprisingly decent dynamic range, while songs like “Killer Party” and “Definitely Not a Serenade” actually feature catchy refrains and pounding beats that may warrant their inclusion on my “guiltiest of pleasures” playlist.1 At 32 minutes and only 8 proper tracks, Morning certainly isn’t as much of a slog as it could be, and the immense relief I felt upon realizing closer “Bedtime” was a 70-second instrumental cannot be overstated.
Still, the fact remains: even for a genre that’s generally despised by the average metalhead, this is a bad album. Moon is to electronicore what generic Swedeath band number 13,483 is to old school death metal: bland, uninspired, and most importantly, unnecessary. I guess ardent fans of this style (if they exist here) may find some fun in Morning, but the rest of us are better off taking this lesson to heart: when it comes to our young ones, don’t be afraid to be critical of their creations. And for God’s sake, keep them away from vodka-based beverages.