Moonface – Heartbreaking Bravery

And the last track Lay Your Cheek On Down is akin to the Battle Hymn of the Republic, it’s massive, yearning and bodice ripping in equal measure. Big hit, no doubt.


This is the feller from Wolf Parade, Spencer Krug, with another band. Now, I have a thing about Wolf Parade, in that I can’t get into their music despite enjoying it when I hear it. I like what they do in principle, and I’m sure they rock out and move people, but it’s his voice, and the drums. It’s too much. Still, this is another thing entirely and although I must confess I’ve not heard the other Moonface LPs, I could - on this evidence - envisage myself listening a lot more to this project than the anything that emanates from the “Mothership”...

With this LP Spencer Krug teams up with Finland’s Siinai. The transfer from the sometimes overbearing clatter of Wolf Parade to the lush, rich soundscapes provided by Siinai has made very accessible, intelligent AOR in the manner of the Water Boys or U2. Should you be in any doubt of the record’s tub-thumping vibe, the song titles should give it away, it’s all very wind and water, look at the words used in them: Teary Eyes, Phoenix, Lightning, Fire, Bravery….

Actually to be fair, and to lay aside my waspishness Heartbreaking Bravery is a really great opener; patient, weighty and simple in setting the tone: there’s no gaucheness, no uncertainty. This is music for people who don’t emote, people who rely on action… and yes, this is music built for stadiums and mass participation, the chord changes -just this side of histrionic on record – would work like magic in an arena. Listen, for example, to the piano stabs in Yesterday’s Fire; all very portentous but weighted perfectly - just nudging the listener along without any discomfort.

The tricks the band play in setting these big, slab-like rock songs over a feel of meditative remove and druggy sound (Joensuu 1685 used to do it too, to nod to Siinai’s past) work pretty bloody well. However banal Shitty City, Faraway Lightning or Quickfire, I Tried could be, (and that’s a lot in my estimation) they stop way short of becoming so and win you over in their simple, rough-handed way. There’s always a feeling (well, there is the knowledge) that the band are psychedelic head-cases, possibly the reason why I really like this release, too. For all the breast beating there’s a feeling that Siinai like nothing better than to churn out a 30 minute psych-electro-rock drone à la Queen Elizabeth or wig out in some UR-shamanistic like Sunburned Circle: you get hints of this along the way – as in 10,000 Scorpions or Headed for the Door.

The last few tracks are great, and this is what will probably make this a big release this year. Headed for the Door is a belter of a track, a seven minute sermon whereas Teary Eyes and Bloody Lips is a classic sing along just dying for the I Love Rock and Roll treatment to be given by thousands of true believers, lighters held firmly in their upraised hands… the organ swirl that is the counterpoint to the basic melody is marvellous, oddly, I kept thinking of Danicng With Tears in My Eyes, albeit a shiny, bleached denim version, which must read pretty badly I admit, but it isn't at all. And the last track Lay Your Cheek On Down is akin to the Battle Hymn of the Republic, it’s massive, yearning and bodice-ripping in equal measure. This LP will be a big hit, no doubt.