Moonlit Sailor - A Footprint of Feelings
Record Label: None
Release Date: Circa 2008
The first lazy thought that always comes to mind when listening to an album like Moonlit Sailor's A Footprint of Feelings is "Oh, another Explosions In the Sky wannabe." But at least the album has the most gorgeous album art I've ever seen on a post-rock album. One listen through will buy just that: a casual ejection of the CD and a resolve to shelve the unfortunate tag-along somewhere where the corrosive forgetfulness of the mind will gorge on its generic flesh. But say the heart finds some pity for the poor sucker - mine did - and pops it back in the player for a second chance. Without a doubt the grace given will lead to a third chance, and then a fourth and fifth just like the Leonard Cohen song says. And at this point in my relationship with A Footprint of Feelings, I realized that hey, despite not covering any new ground, this disc is too good! People can not pass on this like I almost did; it'd just be a shame!
So the question becomes "how can this album receive the attention it deserves?" For the most part, the music speaks for itself. From the twinkling intricacies of "Waterfall" that actually paint the mental image of a waterfall to the moment in "A Footprint Of Feelings" when the guitars hone in to bulk up the heavy dynamics, there's more than enough songwriting prowess to please. And who can forget the climax of "Night Stroll," when wandering guitar lines converge in a moment of glorious effect and reproduce one of the simplest chord progressions in music history in post-rock gleam? Or even "Once We Were Children's" simple but tantalizing finale?
The album does hit some boring spots, most notably the loafing "The Fog Is Lifting" - nobody wants to watch fog lifting anyway, but missteps like these are really insignificant, since listeners will be returning again and again to the other tracks for their highlight beauties. Will the album lull you to sleep, provide study company or simply satisfy your post-rock crave? It's really up to you as the listener to decide; it does fine at either task.
I suppose it's good that so many Explosions In the Sky clones are being birthed. EITS has constructed the groundwork for typical post-rock, but there's no guarantee they can achieve its maximum potential. In that case, there are all the clones on duty, repeatedly aiming for that post-rock zenith album after album. Most will inevitably fail, but I like keeping a least a portion of my attention focused on Moonlit Sailor. What they've proven on A Footprint of Feelings is that they are in possession of a wealth of potential - that and the album comes way closer than a good deal of others to hitting that zenith.