Emo Band From Florida Embraces '80s Corporate Rock With Open Arms

A big misconception among emo-core bands is that hardcore punk is the best musical vehicle with which to translate their earnestness. They believe the severity of their anguish and longing to be tangible as a result of tonsil-wrecking screams and bone-bruising dissonance. Instead of studying the Dischord catalog, lonely-hearts-club rockers could convey their turmoil just as effectively—and perhaps even more convincingly—if they took notes on emo's fabulously cheesy precursors, the arena-rock bands of the 1980s.

Power-ballad power!
photo: Lisa Johnson
Power-ballad power!

Journey and Foreigner were not lost on St. Augustine, Florida's Moments in Grace. The group absolutely channels the momentum of mullet music on their debut full-length Moonlight Survived. Lead singer-guitarist Jeremy Griffith's got soaring pipes worthy of Steve Perry, or Kelly Keagy in Night Ranger's "Sister Christian." Amid the pop-savvy euphoria of "Stratus," he's caught by wind, gliding along in ways peers Thrice and Thursday would never dare. Though Moments in Grace's industrious drumming and hard-nosed riffs keep the poodle hair at bay, the band eschews grizzly rhythms for prettiness even when singing of loss and regret. Hoist a thousand cigarette lighters, boys, and don't stop believing.

 
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