If I had to put my finger on just what it is that Moonlight Rhythm Society does so well, what stands it apart for the pack, what its USP is, I would have to say that it is the ability to mix soulfulness with infectiousness, authenticity with pop addiction, cultish cool with commerciality. And that is the perfect place to position yourself, with one foot in the mainstream, the other in more discerning sonic climes. And Metropolis is yet another perfect example of how they do this, and do it so well.
Musically it runs on a blend of accessible rock and soulful groove, pop and pep, spiralling riffs and breezy brass and the result is a cornucopia of smart sonic moves and deft songwriting. Having the brass sounds driving the melody gently pushes the song into soul music territory, the guitar riffs which eventually break free to have their moment in the spotlight pull the song towards modern indie music, the vocals are clean and addictive borrowing from the best chart music and the beat and buoyancy are akin to the best pop-rock.
And it is this sonic tug-of-war, this ability to touch on so many genres but to be light enough on its feet to be able to flit and dance around and fully commit to no one genre, that makes the sound work so well.
One of the problems that Moonlight Rhythm Society comes up against is the fact that the band make music so infectious and so accessible that perhaps people don’t contemplate the lyrics as much as they should, although, as problems go, it isn’t a bad one to be faced with. The song might be fun and full of energy but lyrically it has plenty to say too. Metropolis is the perfect example of the band’s ability to write lyrics that feel both ultimately personal and universally relatable, whilst at the same time, in the case of this release, also feeling a little like a modern fairytale or urban fantasy.
As always, they have delivered the goods, there are not too many boxes that Metropolis doesn’t tick. Smart enough for the more mature listeners and sassy enough to bother the charts, the band has the ability to pitch its music at the perfect point on a very complex Venn Diagram. And whilst the music itself, when put under the microscope, turns out to be intricately wrought and seamlessly woven out of any number of contrasting and complementary sounds, it hits the listener as the most effortless and easy-going sound you could imagine.
And we all know what they say about swans gliding gracefully across the surface of a lake whilst all the real effort is concealed below the waterline. Well, this is its musical equivalent.