Formed in Toronto, Canada in 2008, MORRE is a trio consisting of Adrian Tonceanu (lead vocals, guitars, keyboards), Igor Lazebnik (lead vocals, guitar keyboards) and Tyler Koch (Drums, backing Vocals). The band's first CD, "Out There", was released independently in 2009, with sales through online dealers such as CD Baby helping to build a positive word-of-mouth. Then in January of 2011, Morre signed with a US-based label, Melodic Revolution Records - leading to the release of this, their second CD, "Contrast".
Though the band's website refers to this as an 'album', potential buyers should be aware that it's certainly not an LP, as in 'Long Player'. Containing only six songs (all but one under five minutes), the CD's total running time clocks-in at just under 26 minutes. Back in the days of vinyl this is what would have been known as an EP.
As for the band's musical direction, their official bio describes it thus; "Morre’s influences are so vast that it’s hard to place them in a category of recycled rock. Though they are a classic rock band, it’s almost like they found a fresh sound that was not explored. If one was to describe the band’s style, the closest ancestors would be “Paint it black” (Rolling Stones) and “Kashmir” (Led Zeppelin). The selling point of this band is that it doesn’t sound like any other band"...OK, it does seem a bit odd for a band to claim that their music "doesn't sound like any other band", right after comparing it to two well-known classic-rock radio staples - but many official band bios tend to be more boastful than accurate.
Since this review is being written for a site that focuses specifically on progressive rock, I do think it's fair to point out that Moore is not exactly what I'd call a progressive rock band, except maybe in the most broad use of that term. Anyone who approaches this album expecting epic song structures and tricky rhythmic workouts is going to be disappointed. Moore's music certainly fits more comfortably in the realm of traditional 'verse/chourus' pop songcraft, and the musicianship is more serviceable than it is virtuosic.
You may think that all this is leading to a negative review...but, actually, that isn't the case at all. I have to say, although "Contrast" was not exactly what I was expecting, I did find it to be a very good modern rock album with some knowing nods to the past.
"I Can't Remember" is a ballad with a vaguely Paul McCartney-ish flavor, highlighted by some simple but effective lead guitar. "Renegades" is an upbeat rocker which sounds quite modern, apart from it's retro 60's organ sound. "Winding Roads" is certainly the heaviest track, featuring some brooding lyrics and hard guitar riffs (I guess this is where their Zeppelin influence comes into play.) "Bring You Back" features a guest female singer on co-lead vocals, beginning gently with acoustic guitars and flutes before slowly notching up the intensity. But probably my favorite on the CD would be "Lady of Lust", a lush, Beatle-esque tune with tight vocal harmonies and a chorus that sticks in your brain long after the CD has ended.
All in all, this CD is well worth a listen to anyone who enjoys a little well-crafted pop-rock alongside their prog. This band may not be quite as groundbreaking as their bio would have you believe, but they are very good at what they do - mixing modern and retro rock sounds with solid hooks.
Anyone who'd like a free taster of this CD should go to YouTube and check out the nicely-produced black & white video for the aforementioned "Lady of Lust". It makes for a pretty good introduction to the music of Moore.
Reviewed by Jeff Matheus on January 10th, 2012