Mozes and the Firstborn, Mozes and the Firstborn

J. Edward Keyes

By J. Edward Keyes

on 07.15.13 in Reviews

Anyone looking for a 21st-century analog to Weezer’s “El Scorcho” should start with “I Got Skills” from the debut album by the Belgian group Mozes & the Firstborn. It’s got a similarly motley, gang-hollered chorus, that same nerdish braggadocio (“I got skills to make it through your doorway”) and a shambling, thrown-together aesthetic that is charming in spite of itself. The rest of the record pinballs between that same kind of Jr. High sheepishness — “Skinny Girl” is what Mellow Gold might have sounded like if Beck was a teenager when he recorded it — and genuine star swagger. “Peter Jr.” opens with an instant-classic rock couplet — “The longer you work here/ the less you get paid” — before sailing straight into the kind of cruising melodicism that characterizes the best Brian Jonestown Massacre songs (its cocky stride singlehandedly earns the group the right to own this coat) Mozes and the Firstborn are teenage panic and grown-up confidence all at once.