Song of the day: Mooner – "Shapeshifter"

March 11, 2013

A chap by the name of Lee (Hi, Lee!) contacted me about his band Mooner. Lee said they’re Boston-based. I don’t know if there’s a difference between being “from Boston” and being “Boston-based”, so I’ll go with the assumption that instead of everyone having been born and raised in Boston (i.e., “from Boston”) the phrase “Boston-based” means that all 97 members of the band are from somewhere else but now live in Boston for some reason.

(Disclaimer: There may not be 97 people in the band.)

Lee told me about Mooner’s four-track EP, Unpronounceable Name.

Lee also said that his band’s music is “Costello/Petty/Television-influenced guitar rock”. When I listened to the EP I didn’t hear much “Costello” or “Petty”, but I did hear “Television”.

Preface / Foreword / Before You Get To The EP

With this review I’ll try to limit my fatuous comments for each song. I may not succeed, but I’ll do my darnedest to be succinct, pertinent, and generally “Hey, Peter made sense this time”.

***

Mooner – Unpronounceable Name (2012)

1. “Shapeshifter

I enjoyed the Televisionesqueness of this track. The sparse instrumentation, the little guitar lick played in the left channel from 0:09-0:17, and the repetition of the guitar and bass all positively scream “Television!”.

I was enjoying all that Television-y repetition (it’s hypnotic, baby). That is, until…

Unfortunately for me, at 1:09 there was an abrupt staccato section that broke the spell of the song. I immediately thought “No! Go back to the hypnotic stuff!”. It lasted from 1:09-1:42. That’s 33 seconds of not being hypnotised. Grrr.

However, I must admit that within the terribly rude spell-breakin’ section there were two bits of music that I enjoyed. First, there was the Who-ish bit from 1:26-1:34, and then there was the not-quite-as-Who-ish bit after it, from 1:34-1:42. I enjoyed both of them. But still, enjoying those bits didn’t make up for the mood I wanted to stay in courtesy of the song’s first minute and nine seconds.

By the way, the opening melody of the Who-ish bit…

Mooner – “Shapeshifter (2013) (excerpt)

Link

…reminded me of…

Kim Wilde – “Kids In America (1981) (excerpt)

Link

(You can hear all of “Kids In America” in Musical coincidences # 125. That coincidence involved the same tune used here.)

At 1:42 the repetitive music resumed, but by then I wasn’t hypnotised anymore.

But I liked “Shapeshifter”.

And I’ve spent way too much time talking about it.

There are three other songs to comment on. (Note to self: Well, get on with it then.)

2. “White Lines

As I was listening to this one I thought it had touch of country/roots rock. I’m not a fan of roots rock, but “White Lines” passed the time painlessly.

3. “Never Alone

I liked the first 12 seconds very much.

The next five minutes and seven seconds I didn’t like as much. When it started, the first thing I thought of was that this is the sound of Southern Rock at the end of the evening, sitting in a bean bag in the basement, stoned, and mellowed right out.

Actually, the more I listened to this song the more I liked it. Until the 1:43 mark. Things became very unpleasant. It was if Southern Rock’s mother came into the room and asked if it wanted a cup of tea. She was
very nice about it and everything, but it completely ruined the mood.

But seven seconds later (at 1:50), the song resumed laid-back Southern Rock duties.

2:02 – Mmm. This is relaxing.

2:12 – Verrrry nice.

2:20 – Oh-oh. Southern Rock thinks its mother is coming back.

2:28 – Yep. Southern Rock’s mother came back. With a tray full of biscuits and cups of tea. And she brought her friends.

At this point, Southern Rock is being as nice as it can, but it sounds as if all of its mother’s friends are all talking at the same time. There’s one in the left channel not making any sense. And one in the right not making any sense either. All Southern Rock wanted to do was spend the rest of the evening relaxing…

Coda:
Wow. You won’t believe this. When I finished listening to the song, I looked at the song title to see what it was called. It’s called “Never Alone”. Wow.

4. “Overrated

I enjoyed the retro flavour of this one.

Now I know why Lee mentioned Elvis Costello when he was talking about his band. There’s some Elvis in this one.

But after listening to all four songs, I still don’t know why Tom Petty was mentioned.

Oh, before I leave this song I want to mention something to the guitarist.

Hi, guitarist! In “Overrated” you played this four-note lick from 2:17-2:18:

Mooner – “Overrated (2012) (excerpt)

Link

May I suggest the next time you play it, instead of the second note being C, would you mind playing C# instead? It’s just that I find that C jarring. Because the rest of the band is playing an A major chord while you’re playing that lick, your C inadvertently makes what you’re playing in the key of A minor, and it’s that clash of chords (A major and A minor together) that I find jarring. So if you wouldn’t mind playing a C# there from now on, that’d be great. Thanks.

***

Getting mathematical, I’d say that I liked approximately 74% of that EP. (It would have been 75%, but I took a percentage point off for the bits I didn’t like in the songs I liked.)

And I have a feeling I failed in my attempt to be succinct, pertinent, and pithy.

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