MoHa! One-Way Ticket to Candyland

[Rune Grammofon; 2008]

Styles: skronk rock
Others: Talibam!, Scorch Trio, Ultralyd

A lot of noisy rock seems tepid in its execution, either spicing up more traditional numbers with bouts of noise or incorporating accessible elements over raw distortion. That's not to say that any particular band is failing to live up to the ‘noise rock’ label thrust on them; it's just that the use of the label is often unwarranted, rolled out as a placeholder to describe difficult music being sold to busy people. I guess that's the fault of us, the reviewers. There's a need to compress lengthy musical ideas into short terms for reference sake and to give readers an instant idea of what's at hand. But MoHa! doesn't need an overly convoluted label prescribed to them, because what they've done on One-Way Ticket to Candyland is pretty simple.

It's just rock ‘n’ roll, after all -- with all its guts and energy -- minus the melodies and harmonies. A few notes are presented from time to time, but only in the way that banging on a trash can or sounding a horn will produce a tone. The point is intent; when you shout "FUCK YOU!" at someone, they're not thinking about the pitch you just hit; they're thinking about the "FUCK YOU!" MoHa! is kind of like that. Their music is boiled down to pure dynamics; disjointed rhythms abound, propelled by an upfront, standard drum set and backed by ambiguous noise. The beauty here is the album's pervading sense of effortlessness. If you were to overdub a guitar, bass, and vocal track over almost any of these songs, you could get close to Led Zeppelin -- or, I don't know, The Mars Volta? (Thankfully they didn't.)

But if I can address the band directly for a second: MoHa!, keep doing what you're doing, and keep making it sound so easy. Because this is how you're going to reach people. I'm not saying your music is in any way sugar-coated or dumbed-down, it just happens to align at the right time with people's growing acceptance of noise -- or melody-free music. And your sound is assured. It's bold-faced and confident. You can really feel it. It might seem small right now, and you might not get much recognition, but in 20 years, if pop songs have added "freakout section" next to the standard verse-chorus-bridge, hopefully someone will light a candle for you.

1. It Burns Twice
2. Karbcore
3. Sopp Pa Kugen
4. Prog-O-Rama
5. Aids Of Space
6. Too Smart Enough To Think
7. Shitman, The
8. Oh My God It's Rave
9. # Outro


Some musical ruptures are so penetrating, so incisive we just can’t help but exclaim EUREKA! While many of our picks here defy categorization and test the boundaries of what exactly discerns ‘music’ from ‘noise,’ others complement or continue anachronistic traditions that have provided new forms and ways of listening. We consider the section a work-in-progress, so expect its definition to be in perpetual flux.