Thursday, June 4, 2015
Cassette Review: Empty Moon "The Shark" (High Dive Records)
[$8 // Edition of 200 // https://highdiverecords.bandcamp.com/album/empty-moon-the-shark]
The sound of Empty Moon is one that cannot be easily placed. Amidst the bands that I listened to growing up, the type of music that Empty Moon embraces on "The Shark" is but a small fraction of it, and yet it's not really because I've not been a fan of this particular genre of music but rather because it just doesn't seem to exist a lot. Overall it has a sound that falls somewhere between folk and Americana and as such I might have met more bands in a similar vein if I grew up listening to bands that I simply did not but will refrain from naming as they have no real place here. (Mainly because I could name something that doesn't actually sound like Empty Moon but is sort of in the same area of genres and I don't want the two to be confused)
Right away I hear folk rock with They Might Be Giants melodies. It's somewhat of The Hold Steady but then I also believe I hear a banjo coming out at the same time. The second song takes a turn for the dreamy side as it channels Buddy Holly and that's just proof of the diversity of these songs while remaining in that same sort of genre of folk and Americana. There can be multiple vocalists singing at one time and it does have a slower pace at times as well. When it becomes borderline country to me I begin to think it is Americana and also I can somehow hear Tom Petty.
One thing I do need to note with my lack of country influence growing up is that whenever I hear something even the slightest bit "country"- the smallest of twangs- I think to myself "Oh, it's country". Someone who was born and raised on country music or maybe just listened to it more than I have might hear these pieces I say are "borderline country" and think to themselves "That's not country". But I grew up most of my life not liking country music and now I listen to Willie Nelson, George Jones and Johnny Cash like there's no tomorrow so maybe I'm not the best source for country remarks.
With some slow and sad strings, Side A comes to a close as I am moved by the lyric "You think that which you've been trained". It's just so strange to think about in not only the sense of something like "A Clockwork Orange" or public schools but just as a parent having children. At some early on point of being a parent I decided that I needed to open myself up to new experiences because they might influence my son in a way that nothing else did. For example, I was not the biggest fan of soccer or as everyone outside of the United States calls it "futbol", but when the World Cup came about I felt it was important to have him watch it because maybe he'll take an interest in soccer.
It just really strikes a lot of thinking in me because of the way that I'm choosing to parent, to sort of allow my son to take an interest in whatever he wants and kind of find his own way, where as before I might have thought "Well, I don't really like sports, so we don't need to watch them". It also makes me think of how certain intolerances in this world can still exist because they're passed down from generation to generation as opposed to letting our kids think for themselves. I'm not saying to teach your kids to "love everybody" but giving them the option to choose is nice.
In any event, the music has that acoustic folk quality carry over on Side B and it even becomes folk punk at one point before eventually slowing down in tempo. I was between wondering whether or not this sounds like something I just haven't heard yet, in the sense as to whether or not there were other bands out there doing what Empty Moon has done here and I simply wasn't aware of them. But I think regardless of the music I listen to in general, if there was a band or especially a group of bands creating this cross-genre of music out there today or within the last twenty years I would have known about it.
So I just see Empty Moon as being this blend of various older styles (from the Tom Petty to the more alt-rock with a slight country influence bands of the 1990's) and then something new as well and of course it makes something new that I will inevitably begin comparing other bands to in the future. My only question is whether or not the songwriter really did see a skeleton on the side of the road or not. If you see something, you have to say something.