Their repertoire can be challenging to succinctly encapsulate in words, like attempting to describe the scent of a rose.
“This is ever evolving,” Moksha singer Sam Lemos announces at one point on his band’s new disc, “Here to Go,” and that may be the best way to characterize the group’s changeling sound, which takes on new forms from track to track.
“You have people who get stuck in their genres pretty hard-core, but none of us are really like that,” says guitarist Jeremy Parks from the living room of the band’s rehearsal house, which is packed with enough gear to stock a Sam Ash store. “That comes out in the music, ‘Let’s do something silly and fun, let’s do something serious and heavy, let’s make some songs that will fit on the radio, let’s do some long-winded electronica jam.'”
All of those elements are present on “Here to Go,” the follow-up to last year’s “Mammal or Machine,” Moksha’s debut. It’s a predictably unpredictable disc, with some of the band’s most linear pop moments, such as the wistful title track, contrasted with space funk excursions (“Bubbles”) and horn blasted fireballs (“The Seed”).
The biggest change comes with Lemos himself, who appeared on “Mammal,” but wasn’t the fully integrated member of the group that he is now.
With Lemos on the mic, Moksha takes a more vocal-centric approach, though not necessarily deliberately.
“I don’t think we had vocals in mind for how we wrote the songs originally,” says bassist John Heishman. “Some of them we actually thought were instrumentals and didn’t really see vocals on them and then vocals fit perfectly. A lot of times, we’ll just have a song platform and Sam will take that and see if he gets inspired on that.”
Lyrically, Lemos tends to favor metaphysical ruminations influenced by the likes of Terrence McKenna, William Burroughs and Robert Anton Wilson. His words can be as open-ended as Moksha’s tunes themselves.
“I choose to focus all my energy into thinking that there’s some kind of purpose for everything and that people haven’t figured it out yet,” Lemos says of the thematic grist of his writing.
A DIY band through and through, Moksha, who are rounded out by Brian Triola on keys, are releasing the disc themselves and following it up with plenty of roadwork. The band tours frequently, having established a growing fan base out of state, especially in California.
“We’ve been able to knock on so many doors now that it’s a little bit easier,” says drummer Pat Gray of getting out of town gigs.
Moksha’s tunes have their own kind of momentum — a distinct ebb and flow — and the same could be said of the band’s developing career.
“It’s growing in every aspect, our playing ability, our songwriting ability, money’s coming back, markets are developing,” Parks says. “It’s happening.”
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0476.