One of the first skills any fledgling rock critic learns is to dismiss forthright any band’s alleged formula/recipe for how it crafted its sound: “We’re like the Beatles meet Led Zeppelin with a touch of the Monkees and a hint of Parliament-Funkadelic!” inevitably sounds like lame John Mayer (and yes, I know that’s redundant.) But the Chicago quartet the Moses Gun couldn’t help but pique my interest when bassist Rich Harris wrote to promise “a multicultural band that grew up listening to Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, Wu Tang and Husker Du…. sort of like an African-American Pixies, or Queens of the Stone Age.” And guess what? The band actually delivered it.
Former by Harris and guitarist-vocalist Vell Mullens in Wicker Park in the mid-’90s and completed by drummer John Marszalek and second guitarist Kudzai Kasambira, the group has certainly taken its time issuing a proper recorded debut. But a new demo showcased on its Web page (www.myspace.com/themosesgun) holds plenty of promise for an actual album or EP, from the martial grooves of the verses yielding to the anthemic indie-rock choruses of “Gold” to the tuneful hard rock of “Stream of Consciousness,” which brings to mind Living Color jamming with Dinosaur Jr. That’s the thing about formulas/recipes: It’s hard to stop once you get started.