Thursday, March 17, 2005

Review: The Moon, Without Earth And The Moon

Just as it seems every schlemiel with a guitar who heard the Ramones or Sex Pistols ran out and started a punk band, it's probably a safe bet that a fair number of people who bought Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band or Magical Mystery Tour started a psychedelic-tinged pop band. And for some goofy reason, I've been on a run of late picking up a lot of their albums. Most of which, needless to say, are mediocre and terribly dated. And, to be honest, pretty much every great obscure track you really need can be found on the Nuggets and Nuggets II box sets. Still, occasionally I'll stumble across a surprisingly decent obscurity.

This is one of those lucky finds. L.A.'s The Moon, needless to say, didn't exactly take the Summer of Love by storm; their biggest claim to fame was likely the inclusion of guitarist David Marks, who apparently had played in the Beach Boys at some point (nope, I hadn't heard of him earlier. Fortunately, collectors' label Rev-Ola collected their 2 lp's, 1968's Without Earth and 1969's The Moon, onto a single cd a couple years back. And it's actually pretty great. Or if not great, at least something worth repeated listens. The debut is a pretty blatant Beatles rip-off, apparently trying to sound as much like Magical Mystery Tour as possible without venturing into copyright infringement. Of course, nothing is as memorable as anything John & Paul came up with, but there are a few songs (oddly overlooked by Nuggets and comparable collections) that deserve to be played alongside any other 60's pop classics -- most notably the catchy "Walking Around" and the psychedlia-drenched "Never Mind." Much of the rest falls into a sunshine pop sound, perhaps too twee to be memorable, but it ain't bad. The follow-up was more of a departure, with the band apparently adding some Dylan (or, more likely, Donovan) to their collections. A much more folk-oriented sound, though still plenty of light psychedelic pop thrown into the mix. Some gets kinda silly, but the sound is a bit improved, and at least it's less derivative. All in all, a worthwhile purchase for fans of the era.


At 1:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Marc. It's your pal Ion over at AOTM. Just discovered that you had a blog. Cool. Recently discovered the Moon, and as a fan of psych pop, I was very impressed -- especially with the first half. Favorites are Walking Around and She's On My Mind. Have you heard the Aerovons? --another lost psych band that could have been the Beatles in a parallel universe.


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