I have to admit that when I heard the first song “Crack a Smile” from Moors & McCumber’s new album Pandemonium I thought I was in for a pretty predictable country-alt album. First impressions aren’t always accurate and the band is a lot more eclectic than I was led to believe.
James Moors (vocals, guitars, ukulele, mandolin and Irish bouzouki) and Kort McCumber (vocals, keys, cello, guitars, Irish tenor banjo, Irish bouzouki, fiddle, mandolin, accordion, harmonica, upright and electric bass) play far too many instruments to settle on one specific style. The band seamlessly flirts with genres like bluegrass and pop throughout the twelve songs.
One thing that needs to be mentioned is the superb recording quality. From an aesthetic standpoint the album is near perfect. Every element is audible, there is separation and the music sounds good no matter what system you are playing it on.
There are a number of highlights on Pandemonium and the second track “You Take Me Somewhere” is certainly one of those. It contains a festive, upbeat vibe that has its roots in acoustic traditional and bluegrass music. The mix of strings, light percussion and vocal harmonies is certainly a winning combination. This is one of those songs that you can listen to on repeat without a problem for quite some time.
Another highlight was “Take Me Away.” I was drawn to the song because to my ears it sounds like a mandolin and cello - a combination that is rarely used but on this occasion it was mighty effective. “Take Me Away” is essentially a pop song with some very engaging instrumental parts. The very next song “Bend or Be Broken” is an instrumental and stylistic deviation that also happens to be quite infectious. As the album progresses “My Heart is Open,” “If Living Was Easy” and the closer “Pandemonium” are not too be missed.
Pandemonium goes down easy. The songs are all around three minutes in length and there is plenty of variation here to keep you engaged. Moors & McCumber hit it out of the park with this one. Recommended.
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