It's Pretty OK
Solving the paradoxes of our time since 2016

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New Song Friday: "Smoke" - Mosa Wild

If you've come here looking for “new” music that’s actually new, this week's song finally fits the bill! ”Smoke” didn't come out today or yesterday, but from what I can gather, it was officially released in December, which I’m pretty sure counts. This week is a fun one because not only do I get to talk about a new song, I get to talk about a new band. ”Smoke” is the first single from Mosa Wild, and let me tell you: It has got me pretty excited for what's to come.

Who are Mosa Wild? At this point, you probably know about as well as I do. Google directed me to the band’s website, but the page has really only been posted on a few times. Even the “about” section is hilariously small. The only thing I learned from the band’s site is that Jim Rubaduka sings lead and plays guitar and keys, Alex Stevens is the guitarist, Edwin Ireland holds it down on the bass, and Charlie Campbell is the drummer.

Google wasn’t that much help when I looked up the individual band members, either–Rubaduka was the easiest to track down, but that’s hardly a surprise when you compare names like “Alex Stevens” and “Charlie Campbell” to Jim Rubaduka. So that’s all I can really give you on the history of the band. I guess we should just get to the song then.

I will admit, the first time I heard this song, I wasn't hooked. It was recommended to me, and while I liked the song fine, I didn't think too much of it. But I listened to the song a few more times and started to enjoy it more and more, to the point where I threw it on repeat.

The track is very cleanly and tightly produced, which threw me off a bit–I thought Mosa Wild had been cranking out tunes like this for a few years. Originally, that struck me as a weakness. Oh, this song has great production, I thought, that’s probably a sign that they’ve been doing this for a while. Nothing too special.

But when I found out how new a band they were, that slick production turned into a surprising strength: Whoa, this is a new band? They sound so polished, it’s almost impossible to believe this is their first track! Quite a difference, right? I’m not really sure why I was so eager to dock Mosa Wild for their production quality, but I hope they’ll accept my apology.

Once I moved past the production, I started digging into the composition of the piece. It’s not exactly breaking new musical ground–Rubaduka’s voice has a quality that reminded me of Matt Berninger from The National, and other reviews of “Smoke” compared the band’s sound to mellow Bruce Springsteen, The Maccabees, and even Mumford and Sons. There’s a nagging voice in the back of my head saying that their sound reminds me of another band I like, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe I’ll mention it next week if it comes to me.

So the lead singer sounds like Matt Berninger, the band is really new, and the song is slickly produced. What else is there? Like I said, the song doesn’t exactly push any musical boundaries–it follows the standard song structure that we all have burned into our heads. But if you focus too much on the form, I think something gets lost. The song invokes a feeling. There’s nothing hollow about it, just a real beating heart right at the center.

Listen to the track again. Rubaduka’s vocals kick off the track over soft percussion and limited accompaniment, and he sounds like he’s reminiscing on something forgotten or lost–something that could have been, but wasn’t. About two minutes in, the drums pick up a bit and the rhythm changes as we enter the bridge. Some delicate strings enter the mix during the bridge, then the band swells to bring it home for the final chorus, making you feel like maybe Rubaduka will make it through and see a better future. Then he ends the song repeating the opening lines effectively unaccompanied, bringing everything full circle.

This song isn't going to push music forward. It's not particularly daring from a musical perspective. However, what it lacks for in creativity, I think it makes up for with feeling. Listening to this song made me feel something, and when music makes you feel something, I think it’s done its job (well, one of its jobs, at least). Take a listen and let me know what you think. Also, this is a brand new band, so if you like the song, do your part and share it with friends, follow Mosa Wild on Spotify, etc. You'll be notified of new music from them when it comes out, and you'll be supporting a group that's trying to make it happen.

Until next week!

-Ian Wood