Music Review: What Moon Things: Live In Texas

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In the first month of the Trump administration, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has received a surge in donations. On Feb. 3, BandCamp added to the pool of contributions, donating all proceeds for the day to the ACLU. 

On the same day, What Moon Things released a short live album in order to “match them as best as we can by putting up the audio we took from a live session with our friends in Denton, TX.” 

WMT: Live In Texas is basically a cleaner version of four songs from the electronic punk-rock band’s most recent album the SWIM Tape. The full-length, released in September 2016, is a wide mix of harsh instincts with smoother, more calculated ones. It’s definitely more animated and dynamic compared to their 2014 self-titled that I jammed along to when the Brooklyn-based band still played bars and basements in New Paltz. 

In any case, the four newly released tracks add to What Moon Things’ collection in a meaningful way, with videos on YouTube in which you feel like you’re right there witnessing the three-piece’s jam session. Out of the 16-song album they come from, these were the best to move forward with in such a way.

“17” initiates the experience with something very reminiscent of The Cure. The band sinks you down into a flurry of nostalgia, wrought with sifting, repetitive percussion and smooth, sparkling guitar. Yet this is not without upbeat vocals, both chanting “Like you wanna be 17” and quietly singing “Ooo.” While still loud and rough, this has to be one of What Moon Things’ brightest-sounding songs yet. 

“Carpet Farm” delivers a more familiar, breathy vocal that creeps in to tell what feels like a chilling narrative. The song itself, though, doesn’t give you many chills. Rather, it weighs you down in a monotony of daze-inducing simplicity on all fronts that only builds up slightly by the end.

While surely What Moon Things has a knack for mellow music, I craved more of their sheer punk intensity. “Dogs” brought that to an extent. The song plucks away as usual until a breaking point halfway through, where guitar and cymbal whisper almost noiselessly. This slowly leads up to the full band pushing harder, including a harsh, intense vocal, that hits at about the 4-minute mark of the 5-minute-20-second song.  

“Party Down the Street,” while seemingly following the same format as “Dogs,” chugs along more purposefully. It’s the type of song I could see myself enjoying at an intimate rock concert. The band implements dynamism, with instruments fading in and out, that does the songs many favors.

All in all, WMT: Live In Texas is just a small sample of all the band is capable of. I’m glad to see these underground punks doing their thing and supporting a righteous cause along the way.