Release Date: Sep 18, 2015
Record label: Domino
Genre(s): Electronic, House, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Left-Field House, Progressive House
It's hard to think of anyone who walks the line between electro-pop and deep dancefloor grooves quite as coolly as Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallance, aka Bob Moses. The Brooklyn-based Canadians came to prominence on New York house label Scissor & Thread. While suited to that label's smouldering, late-night mood, here Howie and Vallance – guitars often to the fore – are much more of a 'band'.
Having a sound that falls in the wistful sweet spot between New Order and James Blake, Bob Moses are actually a duo, featuring Jimmy Vallance as the man behind the group's hypnotic music while Tom Howie is primarily the vocalist, singing melodies that are wistful, woozy, and evocative of rain lightly falling on the skylight of a tasteful downtown loft. Their music recalls the rocktronica of Dirty Vegas with a restrained, indie, and post-Toro y Moi spin, but it is also worth noting that Bob Moses are deeply committed to this -- supposedly -- narrow spectrum, and are able to mine a varied and filling album out of it. Days Gone By is a more diverse alternative to their EP-collecting compilation All in All as "Tearing Me Up" comes close to snapping its fingers, rocking back and forth like a light hotstepper while offering up lyrics and a tune primed for a Sam Smith cover version.
Fusing elements of two different genres in a seamless, coherent fashion isn't the simplest of musical processes, but Brooklyn-via-Vancouver duo Bob Moses take that challenge upon themselves by merging electronic production with a more traditional songwriting approach in putting together their first full-length record. Coming out of New York's club scene on the back of successful singles and EPs, the transition to a longer format isn't without its hiccups, but the partnership of Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallance still have more than enough to offer musically. Steering away from writing outright club tracks, the electronic elements of Days Gone By remain largely unobtrusive, driven by delightfully detailed bass and drum patterns.
Few acts in recent memory have bridged the gap between rock and dance music like Bob Moses. Depending on the track, Jimmy Vallance and Tom Howie sound like they belong in a blues bar or a packed nightclub, and they flit between the two modes effortlessly. The New York duo's first few records on Scissor & Thread played with that dichotomy. Take the slow-burning highlight "Hands To Hold." They cleverly presented that track in two ways: an acoustic version centered around Howie's vocals, and a club version showing off the kind of sweaty groove that Bob Moses kick up so well.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. The inner experience of human beings on the day-to-day is not one of compartmentalization. Emotions thought to never share space together--take regret and lust--do, and everything is fleeting. It's no surprise these days that we never get too settled in any particular vibe.