Today I’d like to share reviews written by two people who have received MOAT’s Poison Stream. The first from Stefan Horlitz in Germany who I’ve done some sessions with and then the response by Joke Roelandt in Belgium. They were sent to me via the MOAT Facebook page (@MOATband), Stefan’s words were so powerful that it inspired Joke to respond. I’d like to thank you both very much for this and I’m very happy to hear that this is what the music I’m involved with does for you:
This album is pretty much a miracle. Fresh, classical spirit, brilliant songwriting, packed with little hooks and surprises, immaculate production. Every note in its place, every note lovingly put exactly there where it belongs. It’s bursting with arrangement ideas but in a very economic fashion. The “ideas” never get into the way of what is the most important thing here – the songs.
I still haven’t figured out where this album lives – in many spheres and spaces, but it’s for sure a very very European thing. Parts of it live in the 1930s in Paris, others in 1960s London, some are sitting around a campfire and others on a ghost ship drifting in the arctic sea. It’s a great journey, and it’s a very very wise and friendly album.
The singing e-bows and sparkling waters of Acid Rain…the irresistible harp-cittern-like riff of Gone By Noon, leading into a sweetly dark room, before it drifts into a grandiose Scott-Walkerian-gesture. Helpless You starts like Bach travelling to Cuba for a jam session, a gorgeous violin, bowed and plucked, in his suitcase, joined by a jolly soulish chorus. Brassens and Brel seem to the godfathers of Marie – a classic valse musette, the minor chords expanded by sweet dissonances, 9th and sus.
Judgement Day starts with stark, frightening iciness and monumentality, takes an improbably inventive way into another harmonic sphere and lands, who would have thought, in a poignant melancholic, delicate something. All those little alleyways like tiny labyrinthine streets in very old towns…the drum roll in Black & White…the string quartet and the solo cello in Folly. Lover starts in a faux French atmosphere, is joined by a beautifully droning brass section, and turns into a luscious soft rock anthem.
Nothing gets in the way of anything – craftsmanship of the highest order, gorgeous sound, fresh and unheard-of chord progressions, fantastic arrangements – absolutely amazing, enjoyable, intelligent pop music. – Stefan Horlitz
And the reply:
That’s a gorgeous review, Stefan! Where the songs live? In the moist air of a sea breeze perhaps – a musical vapour suspended in the air, brought in by the wind -, little droplets that make for very fertile soil for the music to grow and blossom. It feels indeed like a very fresh spring. This album, its atmosphere, and delicate sounds remind me somewhat of Daniel Lanois’ Acadie. They share the same strong sense of perceptive awareness in a light, effervescent way. A load of life kept in a small knapsack that you can easily carry with you wherever you go. “Little seeds in wet soil came up into flower as memories of the North evolved into Acadie”, Lanois notes about his fruitful writing and composing, mixing the North of Canada with the South of New Orleans. Different places meeting and converging in the most beautiful of sounds and melodies, cleverly arranged.
It was “The Ballad of Sweet Marie” – a twinkle of light in the water – which made me think of Lanois’ “O Marie”, first of all, with the accordion in it, which also wavers through Acadie. And Stefan, just between you and me, can I add that some of the sequences of “Judgement Day”, evoke to me the way Nits construct their songs ha! This Poison Stream (the title confuses me somewhat) holds lots of sublime little moments for the soul to bask in. It’s neither sad, nor happy, yet it is both at the same time. “Tears Will Come” closing off this sweet album with a taste of salt on the lips. Delicious! – Joke Roelandt
Music today has been Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s latest album with its silly title G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END! but the music is stirring and dramatic, heralding the arrival of a great warrior from the stars. They’re Canadian and their darkness seems unique from that country – Canadians are all so level-headed, aren’t they (cliche), still, there’s Canadian cool and there’s dark Canadian cool and this is it. I saw them live once. The main guy, I think he was the main guy by the way he walked on stage, sat on a normal kitchen chair close-ish to the front of the stage with his back to the audience the whole gig and of course they’re not personalities performing for you so nobody said anything but they played this magnificent sky tearing rhythmic and melodic noise, they made Einstürzende Neubauten sound like Bread. The new album is great – if you like that kind of thing.