Moritat Clill Blanzin as reviewed in Phantom Tollbooth. Moritat could be the reincarnation of the ‘70s Colorado-based group Zephyr

Artist: Moritat
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Duration:  10 tracks, 49:40

Moritat could be the reincarnation of the ‘70s Colorado-based group Zephyr while substituting Tommy Bolin’s famed guitar work for synth. The similarity is manifested in Venus Laurel’s vocals compared to the late Candy Givens of Zephyr. Like Givens, Laurel’s accentuated vocals highlight the selections on this inaugural offering by Moritat, a Chicago based power group. Laurel’s synth/keyboards highlight the mix, the bass of Kanstantin Jace is ever present providing solid foundations and Corey McCafferty’s drums set a heavy undertone for each song. 

“Cats” paints a picture with shoe daze vocals and heavy rock backing painting a dream-like picture of wanting. “Noise” follows with an ambient, slower moving pulse while continuing with Laurel’s strong, directional vocals. Her vocal overlay brings a great dimension to this song. Both pieces set the tone for the album. 

Change in direction is brought forward with “Snowpusher,” a relationship song with male lead vocals while Laurel provides backing vocals. Along with “Automatic Lover,” these heavier, slower, darker songs lose the intensity of the first two offerings. 

A surprising electro-pop instrumental can be found midway through the selection in the short “This Is On” delivering a great break to pick up the heartbeat of the album. One of the best offerings is found in the pop-oriented “I Forgot To Kiss Her.” Solid vocals, simple guitar strumming and percussion are accentuated by flowing keyboards making this a winner.  

Wheelin’ sets the stage for Laurel’s persuasive vocals with dramatic phrasing, "I want to be your gracious queen, only for your eyes, I need to be your everything, you spin around me."  The album completes with a series of disconnected songs underlined by “Shopping,” an ‘80s Devo-like song with dark lines, misplaced breaks, and an odd chorus. 

At times Moritat reminds the listener of early ‘70s prog psych, at others like ‘80s new wave. What stands out are Laurel’s vocals, and powerful bass/percussion underlying each song. The album’s overall message losses a consistent story line with a number of misplaced songs. The silver lining exists in songs like “Cats” and “I Forgot To Kiss Her.”

SS Mertens