. issue V : ii .

by barathron

. artist : the moonbees .
. album : everything’s simple, everything’s complicated .
. year : 2010 .
. label : new dirt / aunt mary .
. grade : a .


Summer high in the night and there is nothing better than a little dinner theater; more often a musical takes the stage for drinks and digestion of an evening. This doesn’t strike my fancy, nor can I see it tickling anyone else’s particularly deft breath beautiful years ago. The norm of performance sees live music somewhere in the wilds of finding a seat and sway standing without partners. The Moonbees (Clifton McDaniel, Gabe Churray, Nate Mathews, and Brian Wiltz) conjure an aura of band in-accompaniment, fine dining points of light in live music versus the canned stuff. As long as we’re passing lane, speaking-of, and segue xerox, down road take and interstate 85 to 40 operator 804 to 336 for the intersection of Elam and Walker Avenue in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The humidity in this album has it transcend, but the season porch sets mid-July, shine of recline blinding the bluster and upping the content. The closing track cover of Cynthia Fee’s Golden Girls’ theme song (Andrew Gold’s recycled late-seventies singer songwriter trove of sentiment) “Thank You For Being A Friend” fits perfectly to the warmth and ambience of the album while serving the chill.

Bowing out understating vocals’ delivery, this isn’t a declaration so much as a small prayer, a grace over dinner, unassuming Moscato from Vermont, lots of citrus and a little civet undertoning (like humidity, atmospheric in nature).

The dominant notes in my tasting held Yo La Tengo, especially “Tonight is the Night Stay Right (By My Side).” The Moonbees toy with the idea that a band can keep a song in short order or jam it out to a blissful balloon: “Oh Oh, My My My” tricks this swing into six minutes of sonic cradle, with those laid back western vocals echoing out the sense of space. Pre-Stadium-Rock, these bluff plateau waves cough back dusty echoes — not the shimmering ripple of studio water, but an earthier natural element. This is distinctly Southern Rock, but the sunset is Californian; it’s a Meritage big time (I couldn’t get the percentages without the bottle) bold and fruity, hints of Blackberry and Plum, hints of Chalk.

“It Doesn’t Take Much” has this same space and a bluesy instrumental rattle that, contrasting with the laid-back aesthetic, makes a delicious combo. Electric guitar slice gotta Tiger Uppercut Chan Marshall’s ghost edited out somewhere in that shore tide. (Willamette Valley, Mineral: Flint, Limestone, Chambered Nautilus.)

“Decorate Your Own Cage” is the most straightforward of all, presenting as a single or something of that nature. The in-studio banter of the count-off and the pacing make it an easy one to pick up and love. I could hear this on any college radio station on Labor Day.

I vote for “Decorate” or “Oh Well” as the summer mixtape introduction, but again, the Moonbees’ driving songs would be the only thing to take in the car on the ferry thru the outer banks: Southeastern Australian, New Wales: peaches, alfalfa, venom, saps; (honeysuckle lavender hibiscus).

“Running like a Fool” is almost a circus trapeze song, an Italian gypsy shuffle ballad step with waltz proper, another showbizzy style step that showcases a band with a nod and wink. Syrah Cape Good Hope, enough Chianti to disguise.

“The Blues Ain’t Nothing But a Hollow Lonely Sound” might as well be a Sheryl Crow backing track, a Raitt or Reba B-Side. The bluesy country jam is a sexy strut and begs for a woman’s croon to saddle over, smoothing leather on the fencing metal strings. Short and sweet. Duvall Horse Farm Prosecco, the exact acre where Sofia lost her virginity.

by Perkus Tooth