Desert Mambas… But It’s A Dry Heat Album Review
June 29th 2023
“In the Middle” depicts the experience of young queer and transgender lives, and the complications and depth of gender making one feel as if they are “stuck in the middle.” The lively complications of feeling stuck in the distract from the idea of this anxious and hard feeling of being in the middle of two genders. “I don’t think that I can be your girl anymore/I don’t think that I can be your man/I’m not strong enough to carry both of us” The both of us, could really allude to Mose’s fight between the two genders, and feeling stuck within finding the journey that could take them out of the ‘middle.’ For transgender youth, “In the Middle” feels raw and authentic, as it is something that feelings of dysphoria can bring.
“Buzz Cut Blues” center around the perception from the world and the societal judgment received after receiving an affirming haircut. Moses conveys a sentiment of how they feel like a failed version of masculinity, with lyrics such as “I think I remind them of a failed version of a man.” The songs subtle guitar gives similar notations to the artist Cavetown. “I feel like all my friends see me in a new way and with my new haircut I finally feel okay,” is such an important ode to transgender euphoria for the individual, but also on how the perception from the people around you changes. The perception of the world around them changing and the feeling of their thought processes changing is a relatable feeling for transgender people. A new haircut, can “make you feel good in your own way,” as Moses states. This relatable experience feels like the journey of a transgender individual who is learning to express themselves as well as one who seeks validation from those around them.
“It’s Been A While” begins with a nice guitar riff that then incorporates itself with a bass and drums. This number is a lively track but ultimately feels out of place in regards to the emotional message and intentions of the album. The significance of this track was unclear and seemed unintentional. We hear the singer repeat “Hey, I haven’t seen you in awhile,” which could cultivate itself to meaning the people they are reconnecting with, or how a change in appearance or how you present yourself marks a solidifying moment for transgender people.
The project ends with “Dry Heat,” an instrumental cover that utilizes a strong guitar line that is able to uniquely tie in the entire album. It feels like it could be an innuendo alluding to the end of one’s chapter. Moses utilizes this album to speak volumes about leaving their home in Arizona, and “Dry Heat” feels intentional and sentimental to leaving a place that they were familiar with. The song almost symbolizes this closure, as the nature of the song brings their farewell to a familiar place.
Moses is really able to use their inner thoughts that feel so personal to their experience. As a transgender listener, this album is able to celebrate queer and trans joy as well as an outlet for expressing feelings. A niche audience of listeners will truly understand the narrative about being trans, but Moses’ lyrics are so specific that they allow communities of different backgrounds to follow and connect with some aspects of this narrative. Moses allows their listeners to feel, while providing an outlet for emotional release.
Their new project Desert Mambas has potential to spark conversation around the feeling that dysphoria can create, but also about how the simplicity of a haircut can make you feel so much better…while also maybe changing people’s perception of you.