British emo-punk revivalists Moose Blood tighten their focus and take aim at the big leagues on their sophomore set, Blush. The band -- vocalist/guitarist Eddy Brewerton, guitarist Mark E. Osborne, bassist Kyle Todd, and drummer Glenn Harvey -- has the ability to rock and enough restraint to tug at the heartstrings. Channeling major influences like Jimmy Eat World and Brand New, the quartet delivers heart-on-the-sleeve lyrics and hard-charging riffs aimed at the emotional core. Once again produced by Saosin's Beau Burchell, Blush is the sonic equivalent of graduating from a midday slot in the parking lot to the Warped Tour main stage. Everything here hits harder -- both in terms of musicianship and sentiment -- providing a fine balance of anthems and raw confessionals. "Pastel" pounds out some serious pop-punk fun, while the brightness of lead single "Honey" and "Glow" are reminiscent of peak-era Jimmy Eat World and Acceptance. The melodic "Cheek" rides a blissful guitar wave, while "Freckle" pounds the album to a close. Underneath it all, the lyrics make the most memorable impression, mainly because they are so raw and simple. "Shimmer" and "Knuckles" drip with the tears of heartbreak, while "Spring" chronicles the devastation in the wake of the death of a loved one. These brief black clouds of grief don't bring the overall mood down too much, instead providing a greater connection to the album as a whole. Cathartic release is the key here and Moose Blood elicit a flood of feelings on Blush.
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AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung