Release Date: January 1st, 2015
Label: Bruised Tongue
Moon are yet another product of the Halifax garage psych-rock movement, and yet they are not a garage band and they are not entirely psychedelic. There is none of the reckless abandon commonly associated with garage music. On the contrary, their compositions are constructed with craftsman-like precision, with repeated patterns laid down and then built around with subtly changing progressions. If that sounds like math rock to you then you have the right idea (although, in this case ‘math pop’ may be a better description). However, Moon are not a bunch of post-rock, self-indulgent hipsters – they are more interested in entertaining you than showing off just how clever they are.
Then there’s the flute. It’s amazing how that one instrument has such an impact on the band’s complexion. It bobs and weaves its way through the songs like a hummingbird, lending character and shades of emotion. In “Pastoral Song” for example, the flute has that late ‘60s Moody Blues vibe that gives the song a trippy edge (one of the few examples of actual psychedelia on the album), whereas in “Meridian” the flute part is discordant, complementing the cold, dystopian atmosphere.
The band’s ‘math pop’ tendencies serve them well for the most part, with the song “Gomorrah” for instance being a total gem. In some spots, however (“Dented in the Bag” and “Narrow Draw” come to mind), the strictures of their precise craft feel a bit constraining. There is a lot more celebratory joy in the 7-minute-plus “Card Crane Ha”, where the music meanders and flows more freely. It is probably no coincidence that this track is also the most out-and-out pysch-fest on the record.
Moon’s self-titled album is an impressive full-length debut. The fact that some tracks are stronger than others does not in the least detract from any part of this effort. Moon aim to please the listener (isn’t that refreshing?) and they do so with each and every song.