If there’s one word that sums up Moral Dilemma at first, it’s nostalgic. Their furious hardcore laced punk rock is loud, brash and sounds like it’s come kicking and screaming through a wormhole from the 90s to the present day. Right from the off, in title track Bigger Cages Longer Chains, the pounding bass and raspy, barely intelligible screams immediately take you back. It’s fast, furious and at first, deceptively simple. But upon a closer listen, there’s some ballsy guitar, and the dual vocals from Craig and Chloe assault you from every angle. And there’s not forgetting the absolutely impeccable bluesy solo towards the end.
Spare The Vote Spare The Ballot is equally as explosive, but slows it down enough for Craig’s vocals to become more understandable and allows the band’s political discontent to take the forefront. Even though the lyrics are worth paying attention to – although it’s pretty much your general political anger, there’s some great phrasing – the sheer fury with which they are delivered is more than enough to get you going. And then later, the psychobilly style pedal effects are, quite simply, filthier than a crust punk at a festival.
B-side New Empire sounds like it was ripped straight from The Distillers’ Sing Sing Death House, and that’s no bad thing at all. In the absence of Brody Dalle from the punk sphere, Chloe takes the mantle and powers through the track like a freight train in an avalanche while drummer Pasty pounds the skins with an intensity that’s unmatched throughout the record.
Admittedly, I walked into Bigger Cages Longer Chains with slight trepidation, but it’s well produced, without sounding too slick, more varied than you’d expect and quite possibly one of the best punk records I’ve heard all year. It’s short, it’s to the point and it’s really bloody good.
4.5 out of 5 high fives!