How many bands do can you say were developed out of graphic novels - zero, four maybe ten? Well I knew none until I was introduced to The Moonheads. The graphic novel as well as the music actually has come from the same mind. The mind or brain matter associated with the name is Andrew Rae.
I haven’t read the graphic novel yet but the album Loosen Your Neck loosely follows the storyline. The story is about some boy who has a freakin’ moon for a head (who knows why) and basically lives in his own moon brain giving little thought to his surroundings. He discovers a couple of records at his parents’ house and somehow makes an instrument that allows him to fully express himself and make his music turn visual. It sounds to me like he discovered some LSD along with those records. Apparently he spreads this substance around school and it morphs the minds of those around him making it a much happier place. Oh come on - how can this not be a metaphor for dropping acid and expanding your mind?
The album isn’t nearly as psychedelic as the premise, which turns out to be a good thing. I was automatically expecting the music to be watered down and assumed the music was an afterthought. He proved me wrong mighty fast. The album contains ten well-written songs that revolve around catchy garage rock pop. It’s a bit quirky in the same way that Of Montreal is but also has of tinge of ‘60s prog rock.
The album comes out of the gate with a killer song titled “I’m a Moonhead.” It revolves around a guitar riff that came from Blur in the early ‘90s and warm electronic piano.It’s a fun song and the little space-like effects that are inserted aren’t gaudy but enjoyable.
Loosen You Neck does get oddly psychedelic like on “Nothing To Do.” I have to admit the dichotomy between the cheerful vocal harmonies and dissonant instrumentation was interesting. The song switches gears half way through to a delightful pop song.
One of the highest moments comes on “My Hands Are Shakin.” The song is irresistibly catchy. It’s not just the vocals. The guitars and keys are especially effective in creating a vanishing dreamlike sense of happiness. Rae picks up the energy with jangly guitars on “What's It To You” while “Silver Spoon” contains elements of ‘70s punk rock.
Loosen Your Neck has flaws and I wasn’t paying that much attention to the story but Rae should be happy with the album because it can stand on its own regardless of the graphic novel. That being said I might go back and read the novel and then give the album one more spin.
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