Moonlight Towers – Day is the New Night

January 01, 1970

(Chicken Ranch)


Does anyone still hanker
after crisp, soulful rock with a hand to its heart; i.e., music inhabiting a
universe similar to that of Dwight Twilley, Graham Parker with the Rumour, or
Greg Kihn? Perhaps more to the point, is there anyone who’s heard Moonlight Towers
and who hankers for more, whether or not he or she is aware of Twilley, et
al.?  The answer to the latter’s gotta be
affirmative: after all, the Austin-based power-pop quartet’s been picked up by
the Austin-based label, Chicken Ranch. The hands at CR seem to think with their
hearts as much as their heads: the roster’s packed with unsure bets seemingly
chosen on the basis of talent and, um, special-ness,
more than on any projection of breakout success, financial gain, etc. Okay; I
doubt the label’s headed by saints. But everything I hear from CR shines with a
feeling that can only be described as authenticity. Sometimes, as in the case
of Peelander-Z, it shines with outright, charming lunacy: How truly alternative.


“Do you remember the good
times/or are they lost in your mind?” is James Stevens’ way of popping the cork
on Moonlight Towers’ third release, Day is the New Night. Stevens’ lead vocals transmit his thoughts
and feelings without an ounce of inhibition – and an occasional touch of metal
ballad nuance.


A band that keeps it this
simple needs compositional chops and assured musicianship. Moonlight Towers
get check marks on both counts. The unit feels seamless. The rhythm section’s
tight as a just-wound clock. In classic power pop mode, the guitars
unobtrusively embellish and casually underscore melodies. The songwriting’s
handy in an older-school sense; featuring at least two parts (verse/chorus) and
a satisfying sense of resolution.


Moreover, Moonlight Towers
is possessed of a less effable quality that tends to distinguish important
sonic art from the yada-yada. Passion burns. Riffs we’ve heard are artfully
combined in new ways, and with riffs we haven’t. Several of these tunes raise
hairs on the back of my neck. To clarify, I have to fall back on comparison: I
LOVE Paul Collins. I very much like The Loons. And nothing on either of those
artists’ recent releases has affected me like the tracks I suggest downloading.
When music’s this good, it hardly matters (to me) whether tons of other people
“get it.” Music this good makes me downright selfish: I just want Moonlight Towers
to be fed enough to keep feeding me.


DOWNLOAD: “Black River,” “Not a Kid Anymore,”  “Can’t Shake This Feelin’,” “The Easy Way
Out,” “Baby Don’t Slow Me Down” MARY


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