Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Moon Letters — Thank You from the Future
(Bandcamp no#, 2022, CD / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2022-08-06
After releasing an outstanding debut album in 2019, Seattle’s Moon Letters managed to keep working on new material during the pandemic lockdown, and the result is this outstanding follow-up. On Thank You from the Future, the band is intact, with John Allday (keyboards), Mike Murphy (bass), Kelly Mynes (drums), Michael Trew (vocals, guitar, flute), and Dave Webb (guitar) all on board, as they have been from the beginning. Having made a conscious decision not to repeat themselves, the band set out to bring in a wider variety of keyboard sounds, and everyone brought in ideas for sections. The result is still rooted in the progressive rock of the 70s, with Genesis the strongest influence — but by no means the only one, as Yes, King Crimson, and Van der Graaf Generator are also reasonable reference points at times — though it must be noted that the music never sounds like a rehash of anything. There is a distinctly different flavor to the tracks, with greater presence of backing vocals, and some electric piano sounds lending an almost jazzy tinge. Webb’s use of wah-wah also adds a nice variation to the sound and a touch of 60s psychedelic vibe, though he also tosses off the occasional metal-inflected phrase. While the tracks aren’t epic in the sense of length (all in the four to seven minute range), they feature varying sections full of imaginative twists. “Fate of the Alacorn” is a good example. This seven-minute tune starts off quietly with keyboards, tasty bass work, and delicate lead vocals, then launches into an angular section with a kind of Van der Graaf intensity. The main section drops into a heavy 5/4 pattern, but then they launch into an instrumental section that’s full of rhythmic changes and rousing fanfares from guitar and synths. It all builds up to a section with pipe organ, orchestral brass sounds, and a flashy guitar solo. Every track is full of great melodies and tasty arrangements, and any fan of classic progressive rock should be in aural heaven with Thank You from the Future.
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