CD Review: Moral Straightjacket – I’ll Be Your Rainbow

“I’ll Be Your Rainbow” is a great example of how to change your sound without alienating your fans, because upon hearing it I immediately thought ‘This is MORAL STRAIGHTJACKET’, which was quickly followed with ‘But not as I remember them’. Much like the gorgeous album art, everything seems to be slightly more uplifting this time around, with more hopeful lyrics and upbeat rhythms. The three tracks of the EP all have different styles, making it more of a tasting platter than the hearty meal, but I’m always keen for a curious nibble of something new so I dived right in.

“Blue Wizards” is the song most reminiscent of their last album, but the melancholic vocals sound more like fighting words than a surrender against the increased tempo of the instrumental components. I don’t have much new to add from my review of “Earth Is Not Good Enough For Me” since this track is the closest in sound to it, but I will say that being the punkest of the three it was my favourite. I know taste is entirely subjective but I’d say this is a great development for MORAL STRAIGHTJACKET, and would love to hear much more of this in the future over the next two tracks.

“Evergreen” ditches the gloom for a much more uplifting sound, and features a guest vocalist by the name of M. M’s warm female vocals fit the song well, but even the sweet softness of her tone couldn’t distract me from the seemingly darker lyrics behind this song. ‘You seem forever green / Grow old by elder streams / I’ll die young it seems / I must be a fleeting dream’. I don’t know if my imagination is running a bit too wild on this interpretation, but I feel like this is representing a scenario such as a terminally ill child who is looking at their friends and family, considering how long their prospective lives will be which seem almost endless in comparison. Maybe I’m just reading too much into it though, either way it’s a great song that had me thinking on it for a while, and it also has an amazingly written outro.

The final track “Blood Orange” takes another new direction and leans to country influences. Again, it’s done well, although not so much as well as the previous two tracks. My main issue is with the mix, less guitar and more vocals would make this a good song, although there’s more to be done to make it great. The first chorus is difficult to listen to, it starts off very clunky with a slow tempo and the repeated line of ‘I’ll be your rainbow’, and then a response line immediately followed with the rainbow line before the tempo picks up. The guitar then goes through a few bars at the new tempo before the response line comes through and a pattern is established for the rest of the chorus. I don’t really get what the desired effect was with this, but I don’t think they got it, instead an otherwise good song just falls flat halfway through before picking itself back up.

As MEAT LOAF once sang, two out of three ain’t bad, and this is honestly more like two and a half out of three. It was a risky little EP that saw post-punk meet country and folk-pop, so credit must be given where it’s due and I applaud MORAL STRAIGHJACKET for this release. If their next album is done in any of these three styles or is a mix of them, I’d be happy to keep listening.

This album is out now digitally and on a very limited cassette run from ruined smile records, so don’t miss out!

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