Let’s get the obvious out of the way: “Moostache” is a funny name. No getting around it, really. Moose are funny. Mustaches are funny. Together, pretty funny. A friend of mine—one of the biggest music fans I know—once stated this general rule of thumb: “Joke band name, joke band.”
If you tend to agree with him, you might expect a much lighter, goofier affair than what the Huntington Beach fivesome produced on their untitled six-song EP, available for free on their MySpace and intended as more of a demo than an official release. (They plan to start on an “actual record” in early February.) From the opening notes of “The Body Disagrees,” Moostache (are you really still giggling over that name?) make it clear that they’re no novelty act. The song has a moody, portentous intro, laying the groundwork for emotional vocals containing shards of Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock.
“Talking Ice-Sea” is a bit bouncier. “Now I drown my tears in the talking ice sea that we met on” sounds a little depressing, sure, but it’s sung with a surprising amount of cheerfulness. “Halpmeh” rocks similarly; the only real downer is the more-than-seven-minutes-long “Letter for 10 Years,” which ends with a Sonic Youthian amount of feedback and noise.
The band, whose influences include Pavement and Wilco, are three brothers—Patrick, Sean and Brian Wardell, who handle guitar, bass and drums, respectively—along with keyboard player Bobby Waltman and guitarist Scott Zschomler. Vocals are shared by everyone not named Brian. It’s not clear why they decided to call themselves Moostache, but there are plenty of bands out there with silly names who haven’t let that hamper their image—Death Cab for Cutie are pretty darn serious most of the time, y’know.