Moon Tower — Slow Rolling Fire


With a name like Moon Tower, you’d expect a band on a spaced out, dazed out journey into the unknown; and believe me Moon Tower delivers on such. Their 2014 album Slow Rolling Fire is a blissful experience for fans of psych-pop and shoegaze. The album is a trial by campfire: a trial lit by the smoldering ash of cigarettes, joints, fading street lights, and those eternal, bright summer days that seamlessly bleed into starry nights. Even the cover is a snapshot, a black & white reminder of what was and could have been.

Sonically, the band might draw comparisons to The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Morning After Girls, and (oddly) Beach Fossils. More specifically, this most recent album of theirs is a fond reminder of Massacre’s 2001 album, Bravery, Repetition and Noise.That comparison is no negative mark, it fits well the encompassing (in)finite summer texture of Slow Rolling Fire . Opening track, “Morning Star,” drops you off right in the middle of a bleached out summer day. You’re in the middle of a journey you weren’t prepared to take part in, but one that is not vexing to be a part of.

“Flare Gun” is the beach party track for when the sky shuts off and it’s where I really start to hear similarities with Massacre; vocals that sound like Anton Newcombe and an almost hypnotic symmetry of reverberation among these musicians. I hear this especially on the tracks “Low,” “Cajun Fleece,” and “Olyvia”. I’m glad to say it was recorded close by, in Allston and Medford.

While I don’t believe this album has a de facto narrative, I feel, at times, an almost sunshine noir story unfolding in the haze.  “Vegas Pony” for one sounds almost like the beginning of a Boards of Canada tack. While I do generally praise the production value, I wish the vocals were not so underplayed, but then again like the cover expresses this album is a look back, and incomplete.

Overall, Slow Rolling Fire is perfect for fans of all kinds of psych rock and, more generally, the upcoming summer weather. This is an album for a beautiful day of staring up to the sky and tuning into the past. You can feel the yearning for the past without it being static, like looking through a view finder and feeling sun soaked dissonance. As the album ends with “Always,” you’re ejected from that summer day just as quickly as you entered, leaving you with some nostalgic burn, still wanting more. Let’s hope that Moon Tower will continue to deliver as they head into the future.

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