Side projects are always a differing and intriguing prospect; they evidently don’t get as much attention as a band’s main work, can cause tension between band members, and at the same time are very common in a lot of groups nowadays. The latest side project is that which comes from Fleet Foxes members Christian Wargo and Casey Wescott and their full length debut is an unsatisfactory experience.
It’s hard to completely ignore Fleet Foxes when reviewing Poor Moon as its inevitable the comparisons will be made, and rightly so. Unlike the former, this band doesn’t seem that much of a cohesive unit and on a track like ‘Same Way’ this seems to become apparent. The track pretty much sums up the entire record in that it’s awfully delicate and dainty but with no obvious substance and feels like it lacks real direction.
The same can be said for ‘Waiting For’ which just plods along minding its own business, comparable to Woody Allen in Manhattan who is affable but not particularly forthcoming. Herein lies the problem with Poor Moon, it’s too nice and too gentle, there’s no bite to any of it and even in a genre that lives and breathes on the warm and the pleasant, it’s too much on this record and it leaves you frustrated.
What you also don’t get on this record is any dealings with interesting subjects or personal issues, the themes that are identifiable are all seemingly about wishy-washy ideas which fail to engage lyrically anyway. It feels as if the band are simply playing it safe, just aiming for the middle of the road audience, who will probably enjoy it. The die-hard fans of Fleet Foxes may get something out of this record but will mostly be left disappointed that there wasn’t something underneath the surface.
There are some saving graces though; ‘Come Home’ is an engaging and interesting song which did seem to touch on some sort of personal issues and ‘Pulling Me Down’ is a great country/folk track which makes you wonder why there couldn’t be more of the same elsewhere on the album. I’m sure Poor Moon will make a better record than this at some point, they just need to take some risks and step out of the mediocre which they definitely can do.
The record is equivalent to putting on a comfy pair of slippers and watching Murder She Wrote on a Sunday afternoon, there’s not a great deal of excitement but you can probably just drift off in your armchair whilst it’s on.
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