If something stands out before I've even played Collider, then it's the cover design. It seems to have become quite popular to have a design like this in 2012. My hopes weren't very high when I heard about a new Moke album to be released. In the interviews around the band's previous album 'The long and dangerous sea' were mostly on how stylish the band is, the suits they pressed themselves, blah, blah, blah. Quite rightly so, because the music totally bored me and after giving the album a second chance, I put it away for ever. Hearing the single 'Burning the ground' at Giel Beelen on 3FM one morning, I pricked up my ears. Yes, this is a great Polderbritpop song, like Moke should be making. With all these little extras. Even an 80s Howard Jones like keyboard sound, which just works beautifully in 'Burning the ground'. It has a great chorus, breaths in the verses and has this tension just begging to explode. In other words: I wanted to hear more!
The first time I heard Felix Maginn sing was somewhere in the 90ties in the LVC in Leiden, where his band Supersub, with JB Meyers on guitar, played as least as good as Dodgy, the band Supersub supported. Maginn got a second chance, with Phil Tilly, ex-guitarist of Tröckener Kecks at his side. Moke released its first album in 2007, Shorland, which I liked for about 50%. Collider fares better with me. Moke seems to have let a slightly more poppier influence into its music, that gives it just a little extra. Songs flow more easily, have more melody and are easier to sing along to. Take the intro to 'I've got silence you've got sound'. It makes me smile instantly. It's the sort of sound that makes me feel happy and most of the rest of the song does the same.
'Didn't want my love' is a hard working rock song. Guitarist Phil Tilly puts his stamp all over the song, with fast played storms, subtle as well as double tracked furious lead lines. There are several sounds to discover here. 'Straight' to you' reminds me of the best Robbie Williams has to offer, without the bombastics he likes to put into most songs. By the time 'Lessons to learn' comes by it's clear to me that Collider is more than just the new Moke album. Without being absolute top material, the band has come up with a Britpop album that can compete with most releases of the genre of the past years.
Whether true or not, I'm under the impression that Moke worked one step harder to perfect the material or were challenged more to make it more special. And then all comes together. Producer Gordon Groothedde worked with Nick & Simon, for which the other half of Holland fell for like a brick. (The other half, because I personally do not know anybody claiming to be a fan.) He injected an element of pop into Moke that makes Collider an outstanding album in its own right. Seems like a right choice to me.
You can order Collider here