Album: Poor Moon, Poor Moon (Bella Union)

 

Half of Seattle quartet Poor Moon, including guiding singer-songwriter Christian Wargo, are also in Fleet Foxes, which gives a certain interest to this debut album.

Wargo's songs are quirky, bucolic little ditties about things like communing with nature, and anticipating a vacation,set to artful arrangements of harp-like plucking and twinkly tuned percussion – potentially interesting, but smothered by laborious detail. Accordingly, they sound more like methodically overdubbed demos than organic creations of a band playing together.

In places, I'm reminded of The Beach Boys' Smile, but not in a good way. The result is a sort of mannered, formalist rusticity that only occasionally develops a convincing momentum, as on "Phantom Light".

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