‘These Stars’ by Moon Bros (Album)
These Midwestern maestros have produced an album that is set to divide opinion among listeners, despite the band’s super-group credentials
Caught between Chicago’s post-rock underground and Nashville’s reminiscent golden oldies, Moon Bros frontman Matt Schneider’s comprehensive ability for songwriting and musicianship is an already proven fact. The rest of this somewhat super-group – made up of Dan Bitney, Matthew Lux, and Sam Wagster – all boast impressive CVs.
The coming together of these accomplished musicians has resulted in a record that is improvised and spontaneous; at times thought-provoking and ingenious. However this is not a lasting summary and the record loses its way, due to the slow pace and lack of cadences within the songs.
On this record, Schneider digs down into Chicago’s soil, rooting himself deep below its crust and enveloping himself in the city’s mire. This creates ‘endless ragas’ that are complicated and hold their secrets closely, partly due to the difficulty in understanding Schneider’s muffled and slurred singing style.
This album will not appeal to everyone and may not turn people onto the Midwestern style, as the songs are just too drawn out. The record is a prime example that, just because a group of talented musicians come together, the results will not always be extraordinary.
The stand out tracks that will transcend to a wider audience are Oh So Cold and the title track. The former for its use of finger-picked acoustic guitar and electric slide guitar, which make it the most upbeat song on the album, while These Stars leads the way with a remorseful ambiguity that unsettles the nerves.
The band’s individual talents can clearly be heard, but overall the compositions are too arty and pretentious to garner any real enjoyment from listening to the album. However, Schneider should not be written off for attempting to push his songwriting skills to the limit and it is certain that everything he, or the band, will release in the future will be vastly different from its predecessor. So do make sure to listen and judge for yourselves.
Verdict: Complicated and, at times, a difficult listen