Most bands pick one thing and try to do it well. When I spoke with That’s No Moon bassist Paul Little this past spring, he specifically mentioned that the band try to incorporate multiple styles into their music. Appropriately, their debut, self-titled full length packs multiple styles and influences into a brisk 40 minutes, and lets the musical tension come out of the clashes.
Recorded this summer at Earth Analog, That’s No Moon is a significantly more muscular affair than the band’s previous work. Effortlessly drawing from pop, post-rock (check out the Maserati throb that bubbles to the surface on “In the Light”) and good old fashioned stoner heaviness, often within the same song, without succumbing to genre-hopping schizophrenia. You get the feeling that That’s No Moon could have gone totally in any one of these directions, but instead decided to take a mix and match approach — and it works spectacularly. There are points on “Chemical Burn” where it almost sounds like a different band from bar to bar. The vocals by Hayden Cler and Ben Wilson are one of the album’s brightest spots, underpinned by a booming rhythm section, punky guitars, and keyboard flourishes.
All this genre-hopping shouldn’t overshadow the hookiness and songcraft on display here, and indeed it would be difficult to overstate the earworm factor of this album. In particular, “Megaman” is one of the catchiest songs I’ve heard in a long time, but multiple tracks here have single/radio potential, with other high points being “In the Light” and the closer, “Irradiated.”
Maintaining energy for an album of this length (40+ minutes) is no small trick, especially on a band’s first album, but That’s No Moon pull it off with aplomb. The only place it falters is when things get into ballad territory on “Where You Sleep.” I certainly understand the inclination to not have every song on the album blasting at eleven, but it unfortunately doesn’t work in this case. Thankfully, it’s a small misstep that doesn’t detract from an otherwise excellent debut.
Steam/purchase That’s No Moon at TNM’s Bandcamp page