“Hands-On, Direct To Fan… the new business of making music”, declares the PledgeMusic motto. Like the Kickstarter campaign that recently assisted US singer/songwriter Kevin Devine fund the release of two albums – Bulldozer and Bubblegum – PledgeMusic offers artists the chance to use their “full-service music company” in order to fund projects. Each project is assigned a target at outset – generally being the estimated cost associated with the recording process plus subsequent mixing, mastering and marketing. In return for pledges, artists offer interesting bits and pieces like exclusive versions of tracks, limited edition t-shirts and signed memorabilia.
Enter alt-rock quartet Mojo Fury from Lisburn, Northern Ireland, headed by drummer/vocalist turned full-time singer Michael Mormecha. After almost a decade together, it’s surprising that The Difference Between is only the band’s second long player in that time; 2011’s oddly titled Visiting Hours Of A Travelling Circus was their well received debut that garnered praise and airplay.
Mormecha has admitted that the first album was more about similar, self-indulgent riffs rather than fully fleshed out songs, but this seems to have been addressed with a wealth of varying styles encapsulated in the new album’s 50 or so minutes. There is also an air of confidence about the new material, Mormecha’s PledgeMusic statement reading “We just wanna get the music out there because we believe in it”. The band have already reached their pledge target.
The Difference Between begins in heavy psychedelic rock fashion: Safe In The Arms and Origami Bird both rely on these overtones, the former benefitting from a strong synth melody and bursts of noise-pop that recall Aussie psychedelic rockers Pond and their recent Xanman single. However, this is one track that does sound like a standalone piece of music – a curtain raiser really – rather than a distinctly formed ‘song’, albeit a damn good curtain raiser.
Occasionally, some chaotic efforts appear, such as the repetitive jam of MBBM or the crazy mayhem that follows the digital intro of Tear The World Apart. Heavy riffing is still present, but generally these contribute to more recognisable song constructions than before. The Led Zeppelin-like riff that introduces the rocking title track and the heavy sounding Medusa with its scream-led chorus support this argument admirably before the epic Salty Sticky Hearts switches between subtle piano and heavy guitars to create a thrash-free Metallica-like effort.
It is indeed the many piano led numbers that carry the most weight, from the slow Iris Influential with its hauntingly beautiful line and intermittent fuzz-heavy guitar riffs to the closing two tracks that both feature gentle piano beginnings before morphing into something bigger. To Comprehend is an excellent reflective, fist-pumping moment that boasts thunderous bursts of energy around a constant pulsing synth beat, and the anthemic Golden Wall delights with its contrasting delicate beauty before hitting the ‘lighters-in-the-air’ climax.
With The Difference Between, Mojo Fury have managed to take a giant leap forward since their debut in both sound and songwriting. Whilst this is clearly down to the band’s own evolution, the importance of these supporting campaigns is becoming more relevant in a struggling industry, often offering far more than money can normally buy, particularly in respect of closer contact with artists. Having now been given this helping hand to kickstart their career, where Mojo Fury take that career next will be intriguing.