The Moons under review (modculture). Courtesy of Simon F.

The Moons (Copy Signed by Andy in Coventry!)
"Life On Earth"
Acid Jazz (AJXCD230)
File under Modern Sounds
For further details and full tracklisting click here

The much-anticipated Life On Earth hits the shelves in March - we have an early review.
The publicity ahead of The Moons first album has been steadily building over the past few months - a couple of well-received singles, HMV's statement that they're the band to watch in 2010 and plenty of positivity around the band's live shows. It's all good, but it counts for little if the debut Acid Jazz album doesn't cut it. Thankfully it does cut it. In fact, it's been a regular on my deck for the last couple of weeks.

Life On Earth a hard one to pin down in terms of influences - a slice of late 60s rock/pop, more recent guitar-based indie, a touch of the Small Faces, certainly a dash of Weller and some Beatles-style vocalisms, all coming together without actually being a pastiche of any of them. That's a tough one to pull off.

Some jungle beat drums take us into album opener 'Don't Go Changin'', a nice mix of modern-day indie and late 60s-style pop, the kind of stuff The Coral and The Bees have been getting plaudits for over the last few years. It's pretty much a blueprint for the next 11 tracks.

'Chinese Whispers' and 'Let It Go' lean heavier on the 60s side, the former being an insanely catchy bit of melodic rock with a chorus you'll be humming for days, while the Hammond fights it out with some harmony vocals and a Weller-style guitar break for the lead role on the slower-paced 'Torn Between Two'.

'Nightmare Day' just might have a touch of The Specials about it (I'm thinking 'Ghost Town'), 'Promise Not To Tell' rocks out in its own understated way, 'How Long' throws in a Beatles vibe (courtesy of Andy Crofts' Lennon-style delivery) and if you want quirky, the jaunty beats of 'The Ragman' will certainly give The Coral a run for its money.

Completing things is 'Everyday Heroes' (another 'big' tune and catchy chorus), a slow-building, wannabe epic in the form of 'Lost Soul' (which interestingly has an intro that mixes Michael Jackson's Billie Jean and The Doors' Riders On The Storm), 'Wondering', with Paul Weller's piano guesting on a slice of Beatles-inspired pop and album closer 'Last Night On Earth', which is...well, probably the most forgettable song on the album. It's not a bad song, just doesn't really hang in the head. Except the intro - that's a bit like 'Across The Universe' if I'm honest.

If there's a downside to Life On Earth, it's the lack of a real 'killer' track - a calling card tune that will throw the door open for the band. But what it lacks in individuality, it makes up for by its collective strength. For a debut album, it's certainly impressive - good tunes, good songs and plenty of promise for future albums to come.

If you've a thing for 60s-inspired indie (like the previously-mentioned Bees or Coral), you'll certainly enjoy this. It takes influence from the past without being a stale reworking of it. A metaphor for mod itself you could say.

Reviewed by David Walker (review posted on 22nd February 2010)

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