Release Date: Oct 16, 2012
Record label: Domino
This debut full-length from Minneapolis rock dreamers Night Moves was in many ways the end goal of the first few years of their existence. Rather than hone their songs by playing live or building a local buzz, Night Moves focused on recording a meticulously pieced-together early version of Colored Emotions, using the studio as a filter for their starry-skied '70s-leaning indie rock. This remixed and revamped version of the album's summer 2011 rough draft comes as the band's official debut, and the result is a collection of shimmering songs rooted in the radio pop sensibilities of Fleetwood Mac or Todd Rundgren, but also owing much to the acid casualty cowboy indie country sounds of Beachwood Sparks and a rock backbone borrowed directly from Marc Bolan.
In the digital age of immediacy that we are now immersed in, Night Moves had the right idea about how to get people’s attention as a fledgling band. Nearly two years ago, the young Minneapolis group gave away digital copies of their just-completed debut album for free online, hoping to catch the ear of the local music scene while ultimately trying to draw more people out to their future live shows. In addition to swelling their fan base in the Twin Cities and beyond, those early recordings also caught the rapt attention of Domino Records, who signed the band to a contract based on the strength of those soaring, retro-tinged numbers.
Colored Emotions is flush with shimmer and twang. Minneapolis trio Night Moves find a sound somewhere between the freewheeling folk-rock of My Morning Jacket and the glammy psych of MGMT. A little bit country, a little bit spacey; like laser-pistoleros in puffy sleeves and cowboy boots..
There’s a messy strain of ‘freak’ in the ‘folk’ blood these days. One need not look far into the blogosphere to find Local Natives and their dark, rhythmic ‘freak-folk’; Blitzen Trapper and their psychedelic ‘freak-folk’; whatever freaky folk Sufjan Stevens is up to these days. The actual definition of ‘freak-folk’ is rather questionable.
Last year, then-unsigned Minneapolis trio Night Moves posted their full-length debut for free on Bandcamp: Colored Emotions spread through the Twin Cities music scene on the back of the band's tight live shows and knockout single "Headlights", a psychedelic country gem awash in vocalist John Pelant's golden yowl. After Howler-- another young, unsigned local act-- were brought on by Rough Trade this past year, it was only a matter of time before a label would be interested in Night Moves. Pelant, keyboardist Mark Ritsema, and bassist Micky Alfanso seemed to realize this, withdrawing Colored Emotions as a free download so they could find a new record label to release it.
As the years pass, more buckets of shimmer are added to the proverbial grassy knoll of summery indie music that has inundated the airwaves for five years now. Devendra Banhart begat MGMT begat Real Estate begat Avi Buffalo begat Night Moves; the list could go on for a long time, and doubtless with much interlinked personnel. Not that this is a bad thing; the bands listed above are generally pretty good.
Thanks to the efforts of bands from MGMT to Tame Impala, swirly psych-pop with a brazen retro sheen has become the modus operandi for new bands who have haircuts as outrageous as their drug consumption. Minneapolis trio Night Moves have followed the formula – from the paisley shirts through to the circling reverb and crystal-cut guitar whooshes. That’s not to say there isn’t stimulating stuff on this debut, but the AM radio pulse of the title track, the San Franciscan sway of ‘Old Friends’ and the loveliness of ‘Country Queen’, with its sweet acoustic fade into ‘In The Rounds’, is overshadowed by a nagging lack of imagination.Leonie Cooper .
The afterlife of Marc Bolan is a strange affair. It seems every couple years a band comes around so heavily indebted to the glam-boogie of T. Rex that its songs make you wonder if you’d missed some deep track that has only now been unearthed. Yet, for some reason, the influence of T. Rex is often ….
There’s plenty to learn from Colored Emotions, the cohesive, fully realized debut from Minneapolis trio Night Moves. With a sub 35-minute running time and some songs as short as one minute, Colored Emotions demands to be listened to in its entirety: It’s full of moving parts and the type of effortless transitions between songs that makes the album much more than the sum of its parts. Night Moves cares enough about structure and sequencing to make a record — not a collection of singles.