This ‘Moons’ article was written by Ailsa McEwan, a GIGsoup contributor
Having graced us with three studio albums, the Moons’ fourth release, Live at Bush Hall provides us with a snapshot of the high energy excitement that ensues when the Northampton quartet take to the stage.
An artful blend of rock ‘n’ roll, 60s pyschedelia and contemporary indie, the Moons have attracted attention in recent years, albeit perhaps less than deserved. Although maintaining a sound that is unmistakably 60s throughout their albums, there is a modern twist to their music. They sound as much like the Kinks and the Beatles as they do their indie counterparts, the Coral and Arctic Monkeys. This coupling of genres means the Moons possess a certain diversity that is essential to stand out in the current landscape of indie music.
Over the past few years the Moons have very much proved themselves in the studio. Recorded in London one evening last September, Live at Bush Hall is their opportunity to now demonstrate their capabilities as electrifying live performers.
Crammed with fan favourites as well as more recent tracks from 2014’s Mindwaves, the set of well-crafted songs spanning across their three albums is the perfect showcase for the Moons’ talents. Forever Came Today is the lively upbeat start necessary to any live show and has a vitality that is sustained for the entirety of the album. Tracks like the playfully menacing Promise Not To Tell show a slightly quirkier side to the band but the Moons delve into other territories of psychedelia too at times in the dreamy Beatles-esque Jennifer (Sits Alone).
The well-chosen set is characterised by tight harmonies, infectious guitar riffs and an overall deftness – everything that the Moons do best. Although musically Live at Bush Hall does not offer listeners anything new, the confidence that shines through and the slickness of their performance indicates a tight-knit powerful unit – a band who are very much at ease and know how to deliver. With an equal amount of emphasis placed on each player and no one member attempting to steal the limelight, the result is a very special chemistry.
Retaining the magic of live performance on record is certainly no mean feat, but the Moons rise to the challenge. Despite a series of technical difficulties and vocal strain – “I sound like Rod Stewart,” frontman, Andy Crofts exclaims at one point – the band deliver something raw, exciting and most importantly, brimming with energy. Unfortunately though, Crofts’ often questionable vocal performance is likely to disappoint some of the more critical listeners. However, the energy never fades – finisher Don’t Go Changin’ exudes all the fervor and excitement that we first witness as the album opens – and after all, surely it is these imperfections that lend to the charm of live performance, something that cannot be obtained from a polished studio recording. Live at Bush Hall is not without its faults, but any live album that was would lack the true thrill of live performance.
‘Live at Bush Hall’ is out now on Schnitzel Records