Six years ago, loose acquaintances Jimmy Vallance and Tom Howie took the leap into making music together – if only to see what might happen. Fast forward to the present day, and the duo – known under the moniker Bob Moses – are one of the most talked-about acts in electronic music. This year alone, they have appeared on Ellen, sold out shows across North America and notched up over one million Spotify streams of their single “Back Down.” It’s all on the momentum of their second studio album,  Battle Lines, which was released last month to acclaim from critics and fans alike.

Image: Bob Moses Facebook

The pair, who originally met back in high school growing up in Vancouver, have grown into an ambitious and genre-diverse outfit that matches a love of arena-filling choruses with state-of-the-art beats and production. This is more apparent than ever on Battle Lines, which is home to some of the best songs that Vallance and Howie have ever written. As mentioned, “Back Down” has done great things for Bob Moses, and it’s easy to see why. Locked into a picked-out bass groove with distinctive keyboard flourishes, the song builds to an instantly-memorable chorus – at once recalling the late Tom Petty and more contemporary artists like Maroon 5 and Imagine Dragons. Elsewhere, “Heaven Only Knows” borrows Beach Boys harmonies for an 80s-tinged synthpop spiral, and “Listen to Me” lends itself to the late hours in the club with its dark, insistent beat and layered arrangement.

Perhaps the biggest achievement of Battle Lines, however, is that it finds itself completely free of any symptoms associated with the dreaded Second Album Syndrome. Lest we forget that the band’s debut album, 2015’s Days Gone By, was a massive success by any unit of measurement. Its singles accumulated millions of hits across streaming platforms and their respective music videos on YouTube, the group picked up a Grammy win and among the top critical acclaim for the album, Allmusic proclaimed the duo to be “the masters of restrained bliss house.” Not bad at all for your first album – but, of course, the question remains as to where one goes from there. 

Image: Bob Moses Facebook

The answer, as done by proxy with Battle Lines, is onwards and upwards. Vallance and Howie have created a record that is simultaneously more universal and more directly personal than that of Days Gone By. It’s an album that they could have only made after Days Gone By took their music to a global scale, and the myriad of life experiences that came with that cycle. It’s an album about their own lives, as well as the stories they see reflected in the people that have come to see them play since they began touring the world. It’s expansive, ambitious and immersive – a stellar achievement for a band taking full advantage of the position that they’ve found themselves in.

At long last, it’s Australia’s turn to see what all the hype surrounding Battle Lines is about. To round out their massive 2018 and see in what will no doubt be a just-as-big 2019, Bob Moses are headed down under to take part in the new year festivities. It marks their second visit to Australia ever, having previously made the trip down as guests of acclaimed Sydney dance trio RÜFÜS DU SOL on their massive headlining tour. This time around, the duo are headed to Lost Paradise Music Festival in the Glenworth Valley on the central coast of New South Wales. That’s followed by a slot at the huge festival The First NYD, taking place at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne alongside the likes of M.I.A. and Action Bronson. Bringing their full live band with them, this will mark a huge opportunity for fans to hear songs from Battle Lines live for the very first time in Australia. What better time, then, to get formally acquainted with Bob Moses?

Written by David James Young

🎶  LISTEN to Battle Lines here.

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Image: Bob Moses Facebook