Melle Dielesen, the vocalist and rhythm guitar player for Mozes and the Firstborn, is unflinchingly convincing. His sympathetic, almost tender, voice seeps through the cracks of the room Mozes and the Firstborn originated in (a basement, as Dielsen revealed on NPR in 2014). “Bloodsucker,” the opening track to Mozes and the Firstborn’s eponymous debut LP, is simultaneously condescending and sincere. Despite being a confrontational ballad, it’s hard not to sympathize with Dielsen. This character, as disenchanted and nihilistic as he can be, creates a unique dynamic between grunge and anthem sunshine-pop, and it helps make Mozes and the Firstborn a strong debut album.
Even when Dielesen gets lazy with his lyrics, the tracks are still irresistible to sing along to. The hook’s lyrics are repeated at least a dozen times on each song, so there’s plenty of time to join in. “I Got Skills” is so simple and repetitious that, when the audience hears it, they would be committing an injustice by not chanting “Skills; I got skills, I got skills to make it through your doorway,” with Dielesen.
Cultish, Rolling Stones-esque rhythm guitar on tracks like “Peter Jr.” and “Party Crasher” are embedded with the catchy driftiness of Ty Segall on Melted, making them more digestible. Mozes and the Firstborn sounds helplessly fun, but Dielesen sings of helplessly succumbing to troubles, similar to a bastardized of Montreal. Mozes and the Firstborn only sound truly solemn on “Heaven” but, on balance, they recognize that solemnity will not incite their audience to chant along.
Mozes and the Firstborn’s conclusion, “Heaven Reprise,” is just darn silly. After reciting sobering lyrics from “Heaven,” Dielesen cedes the soundscape to slapstick, hypnagogic pop that extracts the bubbling synths from Tame Impala’s Currents, featuring xylophones that contribute to Mozes and the Firstborn’s goofy conclusion.
Mozes and the Firstborn embrace garage rock that swarms with contagious energy and, for a band that hatched out of the basement not too long ago, they certainly have skills.
Recommended If You Like: Ty Segall, Black Lips, Paul Cary & The Small Scarys