Dutch quartet Mozes and the Firstborn spent the past year writing new songs, culminating in their latest Burger Records full length, Dadcore. On this new record, the band blends bouncing power pop and slouching grunge, not as a maxim of their songwriting approach, but as a tool to reimagine a massive array of their genres.
Brimming with playfulness, “Dadcore” opens with vocalist/guitarist Melle Dieleson spelling the album’s namesake. Compressed, gated drums then pop like a confetti cannon and playful instrumentation abounds. This sonic menagerie serves as a perfect opening number to an album that explores musical genres like a new playground.
“If I” then veers into a feedback-drenched, grimy grunge riff complete with toms pummeled by drummer Raven Aartsen’s full forearm strength. The verse yet again shifts approach using robotic backing vocals to uplift lyrics delivered in a fashion bordering on poppy post punk. This concoction proves incredibly engaging, making the traditionally structured song feel fresh and unpredictable.
Mozes and the Firstborn occasionally dip into grungier territory on songs like “Amen” and “Sad Supermarket Song.” Demure-hemorrhaging-into-distressed affectations hint at the softer side of Nevermind-era Nirvana. The light chorus on “Sad Supermarket Song”’s clean guitar further cements this likeness.
“Hello,” perhaps the best song on the album, opens with the entrancingly synchronized guitar and vocals. The song then leads into a dancy, driving verse and chorus. The ascending harmonies in the pre-chorus feel akin to the work of Chris Farren and Jeff Rosenstock. The energy of this song is infectious and will have any listener swaying before they realize it.
Dadcore explores loose art rock beats in “Blow Up,” bottleneck-sliding Americana in “Baldy,” and recorded-on-a-boombox-mic lo-fi in “Fly Out I.” It’s truly remarkable that Dadcore traverses so much musical territory while maintaining a unified, singular energy. A gel of grungy power pop tints every track on Dadcore, and the album never loses sight of this unifying feature.
The sweet, slow “Fly Out II” concludes Dadcore. Contrasting the exuberance of “Dadcore,” this song acts as a soothing, deep breathe after an adventure of an album. The simple, gentle line, “I need to feel you/need the real you/I need to peel you/When the day is done,” is quickly memorable and easy to sing along with by the time the lyrics return. It’s deeply charming that Mozes and the Firstborn practically invite the listener to participate with this final song.
With Dadcore, Mozes and the Firstborn deliver an album like a love letter to DIY dubbed mixtapes. Their fourth release through Burger Records showcases the band’s personality and taste. The band treats music joyfully and irreverently, celebrating their interests and avoiding the pretense of maintaining too tight of an aesthetic. Dadcore is a bubbling, joyous, indulgent thing that only asks that you be a bubbling, joyous, indulgent thing with it. The invitation is hard to reject.