Review by Jay Plent.
Packaged in superb album art evoking the oddball designs of Storm Thorgerson, Moonstrips’ new record We Love You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah brings a very live, rough and tough sound probably best appreciated on vinyl. The 2-sided vinyl format also explains the bipolar nature of the record, as it seems to have 2 very distinct halves: the emotional upside and emotional downside. Rife with nutty jams and yelping, excited vocals, the tracks have a polarizing personality that will appeal to many.
The first half of the 8-track LP takes a largely fast, punky approach to proceedings. Scrappy as hell, the opener Heading For Dust sounds like a track pulled from an episode of The Mighty Boosh, maybe something Terminal Margaret would churn out at The Velvet Onion. Meanwhile, Ride To The Centre and Out Of Phase introduce the recurrent special guest throughout: the horn section. Crunchy guitars are paired with jazzy brass, saddled with the main bulk of the melodic weight, anchoring the songs down. This is certainly a necessary move; Ride To The Centre at times feels more like a jam than an arrangement. It’s very chaotic, the noise becoming a cacophony at the every end. Suzette is the highlight of this first half. The scuzzy back alley feel of the production sounds like a combination of Wilco and Wilko Johnson. Though largely straightforward, it has a wonky, hard to pin down rhythm to it that keeps the ears pricked up, as do the harsh ‘flash, bang!’ refrains of The Hives-esque vocal delivery.
As we transcend the first few tracks and slide into the second half, we’re greeted by a far more sinister tone. “You knew from the start, now this goes down” intone the vocals of Had To Find Out, as simple drums smack the the first beat of every bar. The space in the rhythm section gives the guitar and horn interplay the focus, and it works well. As I suppose was inevitable, we get a nearly 8 minute jam by the name of WLYYYY. It’s mostly just stormy noise, but does have a tasty riff that whilst not overtly present, keeps things structured (just about). Reasons To Be Fearful, as per its title, continues the mysterious mood that has been established. Though stepping somewhat into Brit Pop territory, the track largely affirms the band’s ambition to create tension in the album’s second half.
We end on a contrast. Think Happy Thoughts opens gently and with a sombre but open twinkling of guitars, very in line with British Sea Power. The song’s drone notes and sparse setup might also trigger reminders of I Am A River by Foo Fighters, and much like their American contemporaries here, it polishes of the album with a moody flourish.
We Love You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah is a very ‘live’ feeling album; it has a ‘made in front of your face’ quality to it. Moonstrips attempt to evoke artists like Lou Reed and The Clash throughout, with some success, but at times the performances could be tighter to really sell the songs. However, a lot of love has been put into the making of the record, and when it’s good, it’s great. The album is a great springboard from which the band can really cement their modus operandi.
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