CD review: The Moog's 'Razzmatazz Orfeum'

(Courtesy Of The Moog - Courtesy Of The Moog)
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Friday, May 7, 2010


"Razzmatazz Orfeum"

Kindred spirits: Bauhaus, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Psychedelic Furs

Show: With the Photo Atlas on Tuesday at the Red and the Black. Show starts at 9 p.m. 202-399-3201.

Transylvania isn't part of Hungary anymore, but it once was, which is enough to justify the Moog's bid for "Twilight" fans. The Budapest quintet's second album, "Razzmatazz Orfeum," includes such dark-shadowed rockers as "You Raised a Vampire" and "This Is Horror." Fortunately, monster movies aren't the band's only interest.

Named for a classic early synthesizer, the Moog uses electronic timbres in the manner of '80s British goth-rock acts. Yet Adi Bajor's and Miguel Gyorgy's spiraling guitars and Gergo Dorozsmai's robust drums are just as important to the sound, and the group's defining instrument is keyboardist Tonyo Szabo's baritone. It's crisp and forceful, even capable of a croon -- showcased on the jauntily old-time "Make Me Happy" -- that would have served Szabo well had he been born a century earlier.

Perhaps because it was recorded in Seattle, "Razzmatazz Orfeum" has the directness and muscularity of American rock. Most of the songs tend toward the brooding, but the minor-key tunes are nicely balanced by forthright numbers such as "Lost Day." The Moog is still heavily indebted to British goth, but on this album the band eases out of the shadows of its influences and toward a style of its own.

-- Mark Jenkins

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