Review: Moose Blood, ‘I’ll Keep You In Mind, From Time to Time’
I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that I am Taylor Swift’s target audience. Songs about relationships always seem to weasel their way into my heart. I don’t care what aspect of the relationship we’re talking about either; I’ll take the good, the bad, and the sloppy. I want to say it’s cathartic, but I’ve only ever been in one serious relationship and that sort of played it’s natural course before eventually fizzling out. Maybe it’s getting to experience these aspects of human life through the lens of someone else that appeals to me most, but I don’t think I’ll ever know the answer. I’ve also stopped calling things a guilty pleasure in that I either like certain things or I don’t. Moose Blood is a band that up until recently, would have fallen under this umbrella.
I can recall the first time I listened to Moose Blood very clearly. I was scrolling through my dashboard and somebody had posted a song called “Bukowski” and talked about how they felt like this was something everybody needed to be listening to. I rolled my eyes at the sentiment (as I often do when listening to something new on Tumblr), and clicked the play button. I had a vague idea of what to expect going into “Bukowski,’ and I’ve never been more thankful about being wrong. From that point on, I knew that Moose Blood was a band to keep an eye on. This is [finally] going to bring us to the present.
Whether you’re a new listener or a seasoned Moose Blood vet, ‘I’ll Keep You In Mind, From Time To Time’ is a record that will leave you head over heels. This album feels like it’s much more than the next logical step in their musical careers; it feels like a launching point to something much bigger for Moose Blood. I’ve told countless people how much I love this record (to the point that a lot of people have told me to shut up), and even went on to call Moose Blood the Dashboard Confessional of this decade. I could very easily see these songs ending up in a teenage drama of some sort, if they even do those things in the world of reality tv. This record is accessible, romantic, and full of promise.
‘I’ll Keep You In Mind’ starts off a little different than we’re used too. Sure, “Cherry” is a love song, but it’s not your traditional love song. Lyrically, the song has Brewerton talking about his step-daughter and wife. It’s a slow, beautiful song that shows not only maturation in Brewerton as a person, but as a songwriter. The topic of family is a recurring theme on ‘I’ll Keep You In Mind,’ and this shift in lyrical discussion is definitely a welcomed one. We’ll see it again most notably on “Anyways” and “Pups,” songs written for his mother and father, respectively.
The latter of the two, “Pups” is a hearty mix of charming and heartbreaking. The music is upbeat and fun, and for the most part we hear Brewerton talking about just how excited he is to see his father. Then, we’re hit with “It doesn’t matter that we can’t get drunk dad/It doesn’t mean that we can’t have fun/We can go for a couple/Or maybe a few/It wasn’t getting drunk I loved/It was being with you” as the last few lines of the song. This is where the heartbreak truly sets in, because you can hear just how much he means what he’s saying. Also, can we please talk about how refreshing it is to hear someone praising their father in a song? It’s just so nice to hear.
The album has a few more surprises up it’s sleeve. For instance, “I Hope You’re Missing Me” sounds more like a straightforward alternative track than anything we’ve heard from these guys in the past. The guitar work hits harder than usual, and Brewerton’s vocals sound much more scruff. I single it out for being sonically different, but it fits so well into the record contextually. It also acts as a track that is easily sung along to, with lyrics like, “It takes me back to growing up/Those better days/The first girl that I kissed/and all those childish ways” clearly written with the intent to invoke nostalgia while being incredibly infectious.
There are two older songs that made their way onto ‘I’ll Keep You In Mind,’ the first of those being “Boston.” You’d think I would eventually grow tired of this song, but it hasn’t happened yet. It’s been a little over a year since the first time I heard it, and I still lose my mind whenever it comes on shuffle. The second oldie is the one and only “Bukowski.” As mentioned earlier, this was the song that really made me fall in love with Moose Blood. I was so nervous to hear this song re-recorded because of that, but they did the track so much justice that I’ll take this version over the original any day. I’ve fallen in love with this song all over again, and I’m so happy that it found a home on their debut album.
Similarly, “Swim Down” gives me the same feelings that “Bukowski” does. The second half of the song has layered vocals singing two different verses and it feels so much like I’m listening to older Taking Back Sunday. The call to Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ hit me just like the calls to Jimmy Eat World and Death Cab For Cutie in “Bukowski.” They make these tracks feel honest and give them character, and to me, that’s what makes them Moose Blood songs.
“I Hope You’re Miserable” closes out the record in true dramatic fashion. The longest, and arguably the most melancholy, this is the best damn song on the whole record, and the album even draws its name from the line “I’ll keep you in mind/From time to time/Like the rain in the summer.” It feels heavy and emotionally conflicted, containing glimpses of anger and sadness, playing on the obvious need to hold onto memories of whomever the song is about. This is just one of those songs that you hear and instantly love, which is apparently something Moose Blood has a knack for making.
‘I’ll Keep You Mind, From Time to Time’ could not have come out at a better time. There’s a feeling of warmth in these songs that makes them feel like fall, and that beautiful artwork would feel out of place any other time of year. These will carry over so well into this coming winter, and I can already tell that this is going to join The Hotelier and I Can See Mountains in my collection of albums that never leave rotation. Moose Blood is here to stay, and I wouldn’t be shocked if ‘I’ll Keep You Mind’ launches them into bigger and better things. 5/5