Upon first hearing the opening few tracks of “Dead Children” I was really at a loss for words in terms of how I was going to describe their sound and what I would qualify as the strong or weak aspects of the album as a whole. In truth, I really had no clue what to think of them in the first place. To say that Isaac Marion’s Moon Colony was my cup of tea, or right up my alley would be entirely false, in fact. However, as the album drew on, I found myself slowly drawn in by the churning rhythms and slightly irregular melodies. It’s definitely not the kind of album marketable to a mass audience, but will certainly draw in their target crowd in droves.
To start, the mixing on “Dead Children” is nothing short of brilliant. Although at times it feels as if there’s almost too much going on at once, there is still a sense of “organized chaos”, as the cliché goes. Despite the amount of things going on at any particular time, each sound seems to be carefully organized and well structured throughout the duration of the album. In truth, though, my favorite bits of the album were the much more isolated and simplistic musical pieces. A simple driving bassline here, a mellow piano piece there. Isaac Marion (and indeed, his entire Moon Colony of guest musicians) is incredibly gifted at creating and properly implementing captivating and interesting melodies. They’re definitely not the same kind of sing along pop melodies you’ll hear on top forty radio, but they have the same sort of innate ability to draw the listener in.
Vocally, many of the songs are actually reminiscent of newer Modest Mouse, but Isaac’s much more powerful voice (and powerful lyrics alike) as well as his diversity and range make for a more interesting listen. The only real difficulties I had with the album in general were that the songs seem to blend together into on giant track. Usually I’d praise an artist for being able to so seamlessly and coherently blend together entirely separate sonic concepts, but in some cases here, I could imagine where a listener could feel slightly bored and want a more varied set with a couple quicker pace changes to keep things interesting.
The most intriguing aspect of “Dead Children”, however (and I realize I’ve mentioned this same concept for a couple other bands) is the perfectly placed use of external noises and sound effects to give the music a more full vibe. This fits in the same general category as the mixing in a way, but I feel the selection of backing quotes and sound effects themselves are just as, if not more important than the way they were seamlessly mixed in. My favorite quote from the entire album is actually from the last track, in which a man talking to a small child says “Do you know why Jesus was born? To die.” Dead Children is full of similar interesting little quirks, and they’re what make it the solid album it is, from start to finish.
Songs to keep an ear on: “The Colonist”, “The Saints Go Marching Out”, and “Dead Children Talking”.
Reviewed by: Brian Anderson