Moonlight Towers – Day Is the New Night
Record Label: Chicken Ranch
Release Date: April 12, 2011
Moonlight Towers are an Austin-based four-piece whose classic rock-inspired tunes are flecked with heartland twang and powerpop jangle. Day Is the New Night is the band’s third album and first since 2005’s Like You Were Never There.
How Is It?
It’s quite refreshing, not in that Day Is the New Night is inventive in the least, but in that, in an age where sonic novelty seems to be the order of the day, it holds true to the principles of rock music that have been time-tested for decades—and sounds damn good doing it. Moonlight Towers write songs with driving guitar riffs, traditional verse-chorus-verse structures and titles pulled right from the choruses. I’m almost jaded enough to call it “quaint.” The band’s aim isn’t to blow our minds or produce anything that’s capital-I Important, but merely to catch our ear and hold our attention for thirty-five minutes. By and large, the album’s ten hook-filled songs are quite successful in doing just that.
The album starts off fittingly, with two toe-tappers in “Heat Lightning” and “Can’t Shake This Feelin’”, both of which highlight the band’s way with a simple summer jam. More mid-tempo material like “The Easy Way Out” still carries the same laid-back vibe and is reminiscent of The Eagles’ sun-kissed California country with its breezy melody and light harmonies. Even a quasi-ballad like “Comes a Time”—on which vocalist James Stevens’ delivery strikingly evokes the late Alex Chilton—suggests adopting a spirit of optimism in the face of hard times. While the blues-tinged “Distant Wheels” is dripping with yearning and restlessness (“don’t ever stop running”), it amounts to little more than a few minutes of gray on an otherwise persistently blue-sky offering.
The piano-laced tune “Not a Kid Anymore” recalls Steel Train, another band with a penchant for not allowing unnecessary complexities to obfuscate songs that are fine just the way they are: simple, relatable, memorable. Genres may pop up every other day, but most die out just as quickly; shitgaze and glo-fi are already passé despite huge amounts of hype in recent years. Moonlight Towers will never be the hippest band on the block, but what they actually are may be better than that. The only true way to describe Day Is the New Night is the same tag that’s been attached to many a great album over the last five decades: Rock ‘n’ Roll.