Mose Giganticus - Commander! [7 inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Mose Giganticus

Commander! [7 inch] (2008)

The Cottage

I would define a "musical weakness" as somewhat akin to a guilty pleasure. It's something you feel you shouldn't like, perhaps even wouldn't like in most cases, but you can't resist. It's Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" coming on at 1 a.m. in the bar and you drunkenly wailing along. Sure, it's something you may not openly admit to doing, but you love it. Two of my key weaknesses include one-man bands (Atom and His Package, even early Bomb the Music Industry!) and keytars (I audibly squealed when FM Static broke one out at an Epoxies show). So how could I not love the latest offering from Philadelphia's Mose Giganticus, the Commander! 7"? I couldn't!

For those not familiar, Mose Gaganticus is the work of Matt Garfield, that is, largely focused on the inevitable evolution of technology and the possibilities that it may yield for us all, both good and bad. For many readers, the score might seem to be steadily climbing against Mose Giganticus. "One man band? Check. Keytar? Check. Cheesy gimmick? Check. Dude who maintains the lineage of either an American president or a cartoon cat? Check."

Admittedly, it would take little for such an effort to go from fun and entertaining to unbearably corny. What saves Mose Giganticus is a blend of diverse music and super catchy songs.

The EP blazes out of the gates with the title track, which reminds me of the Epoxies with more beefy male vocals. The second track, "Legacy" maintains the mood set by the opening track. You get a noticeable combination of synthesizer-heavy tracks, with driving drum beats and some vocal distortion thrown in the mix. However, there's much more at play in Commander!, and this becomes apparent on the B side, which kicks off with with "Blood from this Stone," an anthem about perseverance and determination. The track starts off with an almost funk rock driving beat. However, when the song hits the chorus the song swoops off to a sing-along-style melody that's accompanied with synthesizers that seem right out of The Legend of Zelda. The closing track, "Days of Yore" starts out with an almost doom metal feel (well, as close as a dude with a keytar can get to doom metal). The track focuses much more on the ominous possibility of technology evolution and sludges on, with vocoders blazing.

Though it does end the album on a bit of a slow note, especially with the other three blazing tracks, "Days of Yore" is great example of the range that Mose Giganticus posses. It's quite a feat to go from punkish new wave to sludgy doom metal in a single 7" and manage to have it seem coherent. Mose Giganticus have the makings of being a great niche musical act and if they're able to maintain the delicate balance they established of being a loose "theme band" without becoming too gimmicky, they can certainly become more than a musical weakness for many people.