I’m a bit of a fanboy of Moses Rockwell ever since I had the chance to have a chat with him on a podcast I co-host (obligatory plug – it’s called A Good Talking To), so I’m more than familiar with his past offerings. And I’ll prove it – a track by him called Hemoglobin Dollar-Bin made it into my most listened to playlist from Spotify last year. There we go – proof positive. Now, I’m saying all this like it shows that I’m being truthful about being a fan, when in actual fact, it’s probably coming across as creepy and a bit strange. Why won’t he return my calls? Who knows.
Yes, Moses Rockwell is back, and this time it’s with a track called Upswing. In contrast to some of his more self-deprecating style on songs from his previous record, The Unfortunate Case Of Mortis Rocksalt, Upswing immediately opens with a line that sets the scene of somebody having everything go their way – “for once, I’m actually on the upswing”. It’s optimistic, but it’s cautious; a feeling I know all too much about; like when I have more money in my bank than I expected, or the neighbour’s dog isn’t barking at me through the fence when I walk past – the vicious bastard.
The idiosyncratic backing track on Upswing is typical to something you’d find regularly crop up in Rockwell’s art; a sort of oddball, peculiar beat paired with the style of vocals and lyricism perfectly. I’ve never heard a chorus where the words “ephemeral” and “superlatives” is used (and I definitely didn’t have to Google what they meant), but it gives you an idea as to how advanced his rhyming schemes can be. I had to whip out a thesaurus several times in this review to try to look as if I’m capable of understanding it.
However, paired with the wary elation in the first line of the song, the chorus acknowledges that, at least in the protagonist’s mind, this state of happiness cannot be maintained. It’s temporary in nature, and the tragic part of being in this mindset is that it doesn’t allow you to live in the here and now. It’s always keeping you on your toes, worrying about the bad thing awaiting you round the corner, like one of those friends who like to scare you and film it for his YouTube channel. It’s a feeling I think we can all relate to; especially if you’re a chronic over-thinker like myself. I believe this is what makes Moses Rockwell great – he wears his heart on his sleeve in his music.
Upswing is out now. Make sure to check out the rest of his back catalogue too. You won’t regret it. Okay, now I’m done kissing ass, I’ll go back to my Moses Rockwell shrine. Cheers!