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Moss Icon - Complete Discography (Cover Artwork)

Moss Icon

Moss Icon: Complete DiscographyComplete Discography (2012)
Temporary Residence

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Some bands are great out of the gate. They ooze great albums, EP, singles and B-sides. Other bands take a while to achieve greatness. The pieces aren't quite in place at first, the influences are too obvious in the ouput, whatever. Post-hardcore/emo pioneers Moss Icon fall into that latter category,.
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Some bands are great out of the gate. They ooze great albums, EP, singles and B-sides. Other bands take a while to achieve greatness. The pieces aren't quite in place at first, the influences are too obvious in the ouput, whatever. Post-hardcore/emo pioneers Moss Icon fall into that latter category, and therein reveals the central problem with Complete Discography. As a historical document, it can be interesting hearing the band evolve from a typical '80s hardcore group to a post-hardcore act ahead of the curve. But as a purely visceral listening experience, this collection is uneven.

Moss Icon formed in 1986 in Annapolis, Md., just far enough from D.C. to never truly garner Dischord's love and influence. The band released a handful of seven-inches before breaking up in 1991, although a posthumous full-length, Lyburnum Wits End Liberation Fly, followed three years later, as well as a rarities comp. While Moss Icon never achieved the far reaching influence of its peers, a select few obviously still heard what was going on.

Complete Discography is important if for no other reason than it puts the Lyburnum material back in circulation. Recorded in 1988, the band had progressed incredibly by this point, crafting lengthy, emotional, dark diatribes. "Lyburnum ?? Wit's End (Liberation Fly)" is 11-and-a-half minutes long, but it goes through all these building movements, culminating in a massive religious freakout. Moss Icon was never into chestbeating hardcore, opting to tackle "big topics," whether it be confusion, religion or politics. "Lyburnum" captures the band at its most successful. The further it approaches post-hardcore, heralding the arrival of Fugazi and Girls Against Boys, the better.

But even Lyburnum is a little uneven, as some of the tracks come from the band's earlier seven-inches. "I'm Back Sleeping, Or Fucking, Or Something" is an early breakthrough, but "Mirror" is stereotypical '80s hardcore, only slower. Compared to Minor Threat or Government Issue, songs like that just don't do much. Unfortunately, Complete Discography closes with a trio of songs from that period. Frontman Jonathan Vance has a great singing voice--he shouts more than screams, letting his lyrics hit hard--but sometimes this early material comes off as a little too earnest.

One wonders what Moss Icon could have achieved had the members stuck it out for one more full-length. As is, Complete Discography operates as one-stop shopping and essential listening all the same.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
MN_DrNick (May 14, 2012)

Moss Icon getting anything less than four stars is a crime. C'mon, Org...

MonkDave (May 11, 2012)

I agree with BikeMordy. There's been a few things PunkNews have done recently that don't sit right with me, and this review is just another nail in the coffin.

Lloyd_Dobler (May 11, 2012)

@angryderek You're seriously complaining about $15.99 for a double-album with 19 songs? You do realize if you bought them all individually, you'd pay $18.81, right? Or if the 2 CDs were separated as individual albums, you'd pay $19.98.

BikeMordy (May 11, 2012)

How is it that I see shit like a Joey Cape solo album get five stars on this site and then this gets around three? Moss Icon were utterly transformative and revolutionary when they came out. It's the missing link of post-hardcore. Five stars without a doubt. Ridiculous. Sorry if you don't get it.

EchosMyron (May 11, 2012)

Pitchfork just gave this thing an 8.9. Further proof that this site has lost its punk edge.

angryderek (May 11, 2012)

i liked this band....the 1/2 star is due to the fact that this is $15.99 on iTunes...what a joke

bastard_squad (May 11, 2012)

Nice review. Wish I could catch their reunion show.

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