With Debut Album, 'Postcards I Forgot to Send,' Moise Chooses Emotion Over Genre
Evan Dale // Aug 7, 2020
There has never been and seemingly never will be a point in trying to delineate the stylistic workings of Minneapolis’s Moise. The experimental transcendentalist makes honest music. And honest to himself, that music has become something of legend in the realm of the wide-ranging. With his debut collection, 2019’s Amongst The Leaves, he meandered wildly, only grabbing hold of one edge of his aesthetic before swinging off the ledge to the next. The result was – still is – a proper look into the boundlessness of young post-genre where artists grapple with myriad established lanes, emerging through the process as a blendaline bit of steady yet fluid newness. Moments of R&B oriented romantic bliss bend – nearly break – into bedroom pop inspired subtleties, rock, punk, classic soul, and further.
And now, more than a year removed from that chapter musically and personally – a year of touring and travel; of exploring roots domestic and international; of growing pains circling the life of a young man; of shocking stabs of reality revolving around being black in America – from Minneapolis nonetheless – Moise’s growth is obvious, his emotion is relatable, and the range of Postcards I Forgot to Send is a prophetic glimpse into the things that have always defined Moise not only musically, but personally. In Moise, those two lanes are remarkably intertwined in a way that few artists have ever been able to successfully convey. Everything one feels through his music is so legitimately rooted that its nothing if not a reflection of Moise’s own emotional lines. And by that understanding – by the ideology that humans are complicated ranges of emotional transgressions – Postcards I Forgot to Send is a remarkable exploration of the myriad.
Two singles (Try Try & Cascade) led through the Spring – with Gold Rush coming mid-Summer – to the idea of an original May release, built on the hopefulness and sun of the supposed coming warmth. Try Try shot Moise back into the spotlight in ways any artist heading towards the release of a debut album should be looking for. The single is a deeply soul driven anthem of love, togetherness, and overcoming; an anthem that rung – now rings louder – especially necessary when the coming Summer was swiftly replaced by a fight for right ground zeroed in Moise’s Minneapolis. The tragic events that transpired; the evils that murdered George Floyd understandably delayed the album’s release. Bigger things were at play, and yet through them, Try Try became something bigger as well. It was prophetic, positively charged. And now, it stands strong en medias res of Postcards I Forgot to Send, where in both directions, wide-ranging explorations of Moise as a person and subsequently as an artist breathe of a future for music and hopefully for change from the societal struggles that now earmark its release.
Where the global struggles surrounding the timeliness of Postcards I Forgot to Send definitely drive home its emotionality to anyone listening, Moise’s artistic growth is what brought it all to life in the first place. As Moise told us in our interview leading towards this release, at the time of Amongst The Leaves, he ‘was still becoming the all-around artist [he’d] dreamed of being from learning how to play guitar, gaining control over [his] vocals, and learning the in-outs of the production process.’ Now, thanks in large to his close-knit team, that wide range is obvious yet tethered akin by the consistency of the same creatives driving the direction of the album’s heart.
At the heart of that heart is Moise, himself. Unique, honest, and broad – the music and the man behind it are indefinable yet fluidly cohesive.
Stylistically, Postcards I Forgot to Send is a show of flow where few if any before have dared to navigate. It opens with a subtle guitar riff, analogue drums, and some distorted vocals for Lime: a track that feels distinctly derived of a mid-00’s alt scene in effortless merging with the calming illusiveness of attention to specificity. Instead, the opener is perhaps best a microcosm of the coming Postcards at large, where amongst the guitar, the drums & the vocals, horns, and progression, too, blend their way into the mix. Better defined with emotion, Lime is bright and warm, thriving as backdrop for Springtime bike rides that evoke introspection. When quickly coupled with its follow-up, Gold Rush, Moise delivers a Summertime windows-down anthem, breathing of warmth and positivity, hammering home his place as a bedroom pop adjacent talent before quickly embarking down a further list of emotional changes of pace and creative lanes explored.
Things evolve into especially delicate emotional realms with You Pushed Me Away. Assumedly born of a breakup – an all-too cliché realm of thematic exploits for most young artists – Moise unearths something new in the heartbroken anthem: effervescence. Between its beachy guitar riffs, its underlying key progressions, and Moise’s knack for seamlessly floating from the backdrop to the forefront with his vocalism, You Pushed Me Away explodes with bubbly waves of emotion and melody in balanced unison. In so many ways, it’s also stamped by the addicting nature of its hook – a songwriting skillset that Moise has proven again and again with past tracks.
And by track number four, Red Lights, Moise explores his fourth subsequent range of emotions which guide his fourth subsequent musical switching of lanes. Red Lights opens the door for the less emotionally soft, less artistically acoustic edge of the project. And with it, a listener understands that not a single track will sound like another by the terms of traditionalism. Instead of tied together with stylistic expectancy, Postcards is tied together with an underlying air de Moise which really can’t be put into words, only heard by listening.
On out, Postcards I Forgot to Send breathes of a timeless blend of soulful, funky, instrumentally driven band anthems that shine Moise ‘neath the light of a Rockstar front man on the ups, also capable of the softer, lighthearted tracks at its beginning. He effortlessly explores his inventive brand born of rock, soul, alternative, indie, folk, jazz, and well… everything in reach, it seems. The coming tracks: Nashville, Tennessee, Letter’s to You, and So Many Clouds operate as vibrant, juxtaposing looks into what can only be called the rangy scope of Moise’s broadly influenced post-genre Americana. Like the great transcendentalists of the past and present, he creates a wide-ranging image of the world we live in through the scope of a relatable young mind with an unteachably old soul. The tracks vary widely in texture, aesthetic, and seeming inspiration, uncaring for any preconceived boundaries of past genrefication. Again, instead, they are purely Moise – purely a reflection of a young man – with more talent than most – making music that bleeds of the time and place any given track was conceived.
After all, ‘Much of 'Postcards I Forgot to Send' are little messages from [his] perspective out to the world, each one feeling like a postcard from a different time and place.’
Moise says it best, which brings to mind one final note on the project; on his artistry at large: lyricism, poetry, and songwriting. An incredibly thoughtful pen, Moise draws so many comparisons to folk, indie, and Americana legends of the past and present not only because of his indefinable range, unique register, and affinity for the instrumentalization of rock, jazz, and soul, but because of his words. There have been few, and are even fewer now, that can simply bring to life so much emotion and relatability with lyricism, but Moise is a modern exception, largely because his music is far too timeless to belong to modernity alone. If Postcards I Forgot to Send is a case study of one realm in particular, its thesis lies in its written title; its genius in the honest bleeding of music through Moise’s emotional reach.