What does it sound like?:
It’s possibly the involvement of Marty Willson-Piper, twelve-string botherer of this parish, that will be of most interest to members of The Afterword, but MOAT is no jingle-jangle pony, being a collaboration between ex-The Church Shergoldster and member of – if for not necessarily their best but certainly most interesting album – All About Eve, and Weeping Willows instrumentalist Niko Röhlcke.
Don’t get me wrong, are acoustics aplenty all over this, but there are also horns, strings (principally tastefully deployed by one Olivia Willson-Piper) and the campaign for real drums will celebrate the investment of a portion of the crowdfunded budget in employing one Eddie John (once, briefly of AW-friendly popsters Stackridge) to thump the tubs in a most appropriate manner, all expertly shepherded by co-producer Dare Mason, veteran of knob twiddling for the likes of Soul II Soul, Prince, Elton John and, um, The Triffids.
But what does it sound like, I hear you mither? As I say, it’s not all about the post-Bells of Rhymney acoustic template. Acid Rain kicks off the album in a sprightly fashion before Gone by Noon brings probably the most Churchey course of the night to the table and Helpless You makes up a corking opening tryptichal statement of intent.
There’s a real Sixties vibe to much of the rest of the rekkid – Ballad of Sweet Marie evokes nothing so much as Noel Harrison, and Lover builds from some horn pads via some appropriately lovely acoustic to the sort of 60’s movie soundscape that Burt Bacharach used to win awards for.
Wigout wise, there’s a corking lead guitar workout to close Roadmap to My Soul, and Tears Will Come closes the show in a suitably room-friendly way. I imagine that’s the one they’d play at a radio station if touring the country in a press officer’s car was still a way of life. Throughout, MWP’s vocals (performing all his own made up words) are strong and seasoned, and not at all the ‘stepped-up former guitarist’ tones that very many of these projects seem to try and get away with.
If you’ve a big-ass stereo in a separate room you’re going to love playing this through the big speakers, although I equally enjoyed it in the comfort of an armchair with a lovely glass of Pinot Noir, having been sent a link by Olivia W-P, whom I met gig last year, or possibly the year before. We’ll always have The Betsey Trotwood..
Available through schoolkidsrecords.com next week, including an Afterword-friendly vinly version.
What does it all *mean*?
They’re not breaking any new ground here, but the land these people are tilling still has a rich and rewarding harvest to be gathered.
Goes well with…
Might suit people who like…
The Church, and ahem, according to the press kit, the “weirdness of an eccentric English village with the long dark nights of moody Scandinavia” and/or “Anglo-Scandinavian-bent folk-pop with lyrical twists”.