When looking for good music I often find myself looking down the barrel of the familiar. I recently found myself on Sub Pop’s website looking through their roster when I stumbled upon the band Poor Moon. What struck me about this band is that I recognized two of the member’s names. Both Christian Wargo and Casey Wescott are also members of Fleet Foxes, a band I have enjoyed since their first self-titled EP. Christian and Casey are joined by brothers Ian and Peter Murray of the Christmas Cards. Poor Moon released their first EP Illusion on March 27, 2012, and while there are similarities between their music and that of Fleet Foxes the band definitely stands on its own.
The album starts off softly and slowly with the opening title track “Illusion”. It has a beautifully written and played acoustic opening, which is complemented by a ghostly and wind-like synth part. The vocals enter seamlessly and are honest and delivered with purpose. Lyrically the song is very easy to understand. With lyrics like ” I want to learn to rely on what I first decided when the moment comes so I don’t have to think twice” it is easy to tell that the song is about learning to never second guess yourself. The song is soft and simple, but with a potent message. It is a great way to start off an album.
The second song is a full band effort titled “Anyplace”. It is carried by a flowing acoustic part, a groovy drum beat with rolling tom fills, a clean and creative lead guitar part, and a complimentary bass line. The main vocals are accompanied by a harmony vocal for most of the verse, which is very reminiscent of the Beatles. As the song goes into the chorus the lead vocals are accompanied by a chorus of harmony vocals showing the vocal talent of the group, and there is a background vocal part that sounds like it could be found on a Beach Boys album. Lyrically the song is more esoteric than “Illusion”, but it is still easy to relate to them.
The album picks up with the third track “People In Her Mind”, which is the most upbeat and pop-like song on the album. The intro guitar part is very energetic and reminds me of early Sloan. As the title of the song suggest the lyrics pertain to a girl that only has the people in her mind in her life. There is a xylophone part throughout the song that is very enjoyable and adds something special to the song. The song is carried by the drums, which at times give the song a very danceable quality and at other times the feel of a song from the 1950s. As in “Anyplace, the lead vocals are accompanied by a harmony part throughout most of the song. The song exits with a xylophone part, which is rarely done and creative yet simple.
The fourth track “Once Before” explores the idea of being in love. The song begins with a guitar part that is accompanied by well timed cymbal crashes. As the song enters the first verse the full band joins in. The vocal harmonies in this song are as good and has well applied as the rest of the album showing that the band is made up of some talented individuals. During the chorus a xylophone follows the lead guitar for the large part and other times it compliments it. The songs exit is almost spectral and very sudden, it leaves you wanting for more.
The EP exits like it entered with a soft acoustic based song titled “Widow”. The song is comprised of one acoustic guitar and a layer of vocals. This song is very good at demonstrating to vocal power and harmonies of the band. The vocal run between verses is especially enjoyable. Lyrically the song explores the ideas of being alone after death. It is a fantastic song to wrap up the EP with.
Overall Illusion is a very well put together album. It is a very unpolished album, which is very pleasing to listen to in a time where albums are overly polished. At times it feels as if the reverb was overdone, but that is a minor flaw of an otherwise great sound. It is an ideal album to listen to on a lazy summer afternoon. Fans of Fleet Foxes would definitely quickly become fans of Poor Moon. I highly suggest this album as a must listen to album.