Five years between albums is a very long time. It’s enough time for even dearly devoted fans to lose interest in a band altogether. Melbourne, Australia’s glory children Closure in Moscow took every bit of their five years of supposed silence in creating the guaranteed weirdest record of the year. Keep in mind that “weird” is not synonymous with “bad” by any means. The band’s sophomore record Pink Lemonade is the most interesting thing to come out this year, thus far. It’s a record that will make you scratch your head while it’s banging, and remind you to pay attention to every detail.
Starting the journey is the album’s overture, which is presented in the form of “The Fool”. This 1.5-minute introduction leaves nothing more to be desired as it encapsulates everything that the record will present. Starting off slow and crescendoing into wild percussiveness is only the first sip. “Pink Lemonade” follows immediately, and that same prog-rock shredding we know and love (courtesy of guitarists Mansur Zennelli and Michael Barrett) shines through to welcome us back to the band’s sound. This 8-minute monster technically ends around the 6-minute mark, thus beginning the first of many shift changes, presented by a female counterpart of the band, to act as the segue between this track and the next, “Neoprene Byzantine”, which has the catchiest chorus on the record. ’70s funk shines through on “Seeds of Gold”, while “That Brahmatron Song” jumps forward about half a decade to get a classic rock sound, finishing off the first half of the adventure.
Things pick up to chaos once more in the form of “Dinosaur Boss Battle”, while the following track “Mauerbauertraurigkeit” acts as the record’s ballad track, keeping things rather low-key; a nice escape for 7.5 minutes. “The Church of the Technochrist” comes next, and this is a completely different song compared to its half-shaven single edit. After writing a lengthy review on the single edit, it would appear (though not confirmed) that both versions are different recordings. There are little hints of this in frontman Christopher de Cinque’s vocal delivery and even in Salvatore Aidone’s drumming. The track breathes new life to those who fell in love with the single and it all comes together quite nicely. “Beckon Fire” is as close to “Permafrost” (from First Temple) as this record gets. It contains wondrous string arrangements and distorted lo-fi vocals that bring back the deeper end of the soul spectrum. Things begin to come to a close with “Happy Days”, which is delivered in pure Closure in Moscow style, complete with supremely uplifting lyrics. The album ultimately comes to a close with “ピンクレモネード” (which is Japanese for, you guessed it, ‘pink lemonade’). It’s difficult to describe this closing track so I’ll leave you with the phrase ‘8-bit wonder’. That sounds about right.
It’s no mystery that de Cinque is an easy contender to be the Freddie Mercury of the progressive rock scene. The classically-trained vocalist has been known to don bodysuits and wear lipstick on his forehead whilst performing to the confused masses (whom quickly become his flock). His vocal range on the band’s full-length debut, First Temple, is something that’s excruciatingly hard to mimic, which is why it was expected for him to blow everyone away once more. The one thing that can be said about the execution on Pink Lemonade is that de Cinque appears to be holding back. This may be vital for him to execute the vision but it was seen as something a little too different; as if this entire beast of a record wasn’t different enough already.
The pure beauty of Pink Lemonade is that even through all of the weirdness and massive shift changes, it’s still the same Closure in Moscow. Before, their quirkiness would shine through their live shows and musical direction of their back catalog. Now, it’s all neatly wrapped for you in this record. After listening through it once or six times, you will finally come to realize just what this band is about, and that realization is about as refreshing as a tall glass of…well, you know.
Pink Lemonade will be released on May 9th via Sabretusk.