added: 25 Mar 2012
// release date: 26 Mar 2012 // label: Bella Union
reviewer: Dan MacIntosh
Poor Moon is a side project from Fleet Foxes’ Christian Wargo and Casey Wescott. If you loved Helplessness Blues, the most recent Fleet Foxes full-length, you oughta really dig this Poor Moon debut. It is more of the same, yet by no means more of the same old thing.
In addition to Wargo and Wescott, the group is rounded out by Ian and Peter Murray, both from the group The Christmas Cards. If you’re scratching your head over where a name like Poor Moon might have come from, scratch no more because front man and primary songwriter Wargo derived it from his favorite Canned Heat song. That’s kind of ironic because Poor Moon sounds nothing like Canned Heat.
The standout track from this top-to-bottom-excellent release is “People in Her Mind. It’s sung with a touch of a Ray Davies like vocal, with a pop-rock melodic hook that just won’t quit. The guitar riff is clean and lovely. The beat bops along like one of those ‘60s British Invasion songs that get stuck in your head that you cannot – no, will not! – expel. The song’s lyric is about a mystery girl. (If you ask most guys, all girls are mysteries. But that’s an entirely different matter).
Before settling on the name Poor Moon, these four musicians played together with such strange names as Rabbit Kingdom and Cookie Mask. With dud monikers like those, we should all be glad Wargo had a special thing for Canned Heat.
This EP closes with the beautifully acoustic “Widow.” It's a pretty way to cap a lovely recorded work. Much like Fleet Foxes, Poor Moon takes tried and true musical elements, such as folk-rock instrumentation, and somehow makes it sound brand new. There are no new sonic tricks or unusual sounds here. You’ve probably heard much stuff like this music before, but rarely any better. There might be a Poor Moon, yes. But you’ll be even poorer than the sad sack moon if you miss out on this one.
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