Release Date: Aug 13, 2013
Record label: Hardly Art
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, American Trad Rock, Alternative Country-Rock
Adiós I’m a Ghost begins with a strange juxtaposition. The album starts with a quiet, harmony-laden instrumental intro that, after about 30 seconds, abruptly gives way to the furious, propulsive “Red Eye.” It’s an excellent summation of the band itself. Veering effortlessly between haunting, atmospheric numbers and brassy, Americana-inspired rock (sometimes within the same song), Seattle’s The Moondoggies’ third release is the soundtrack of a broken heart attempting to repair itself by simply moving forward and rocking as hard as it can.
Seattle-based band the Moondoggies have been called an Americana band drawing on influences ranging from the Band to the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, but on this, the group's third album, there isn't a whole lot of folk Americana or rootsy country going on, and they sound more like a cross between mid-period R. E. M.
According to the liner notes, the Seattle-based Moondoggies’ third full-length seeks to explore “the idea of living and dying and the many times we’ve lived and died before.” That’s heady stuff for a rock band, even one with a composer as literate as Kevin Murphy. Apparently the theme is explored within these songs, which thankfully don’t show the strain of excess lyrical exposition. On a purely musical level for the quintet (guitarist Jon Potrello was recently added), these strummy rockers, highlighted by the group’s established three-part harmonies, are some of the most incisive and powerful in their catalog.
The Seattle Times has described the Moondoggies as “Seattle’s premier urban-rustic folk-rock act”. Nice compliment. But notice the subtext? The statement unwittingly implies there must not be just two or three, but, in fact, enough “urban-rustic folk-rock” bands in Seattle to warrant one being singled out as “premier”. In other words, there is no shortage in Seattle of bands who do what the Moondoggies do and sound like they sound.
Seattle may forever be defined as the birthplace of grunge, but the city’s sonic landscape has moved in an almost diametrically opposite direction in the years since Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains helped put it on the map. In its place, a rootsier, more ethereal sound has swept across the Pacific Northwest over the past decade. The Moondoggies are among the latest bands to crop up from Seattle’s fertile, folk-inspired flowerbed, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Band of Horses and Blitzen Trapper.