By Ian Bremner
As the gentlemen in The Moondoggies will happily remind you, they are from Everett, NOT Seattle. Despite it’s proximity, just 30 minutes north up I-5, there is a distinction. At any rate, it’s been 5 years since the beloved Northwest band have released a new record. It’s not that they ever left, it’s just their priorities have shifted immensely.
Front man and songwriter Kevin Murphy is now a father of two. Though he was never one to fully seek the rock n roll lifestyle, being a new dad is not very conducive to touring and late night gigs. What comes as a benefit now is spending more time at home and working on songs when the kids don’t need tending (that happens?). Listening to the new record, A Love Sleeps Deep, you can tell the instrumentation is a product of renewed focus and experimentation. The Moondoggies have always been a guitar band, but never this in your face, and this stretched out. At just 8 tracks, the music bends and burns for longer periods and at a heavier gravity.
The Moondoggies have blended swamp rock with folk, country and 70’s California harmonies to create a genre that can really only be described as “Northwest.” The record was produced by Seattle powerhouse, Erik Blood, who has worked with Tacocat, Pickwick, Shabazz Palaces and seems to be involved in one way or another of nearly every notable Seattle release. The heavier sound allows each member of the band to shine individually. A song like Cinders features Caleb Quick on the keys, and Carl Dahlen’s pounding drums, where Sick In Bed displays Jon Pontrello dueling guitar alongside Murphy. Robert Terreberry rounds out the 5-peice on the steel guitar filling in all the holes on the band’s new jam-heavy record.
This is easily the sharpest and intense we’ve heard from Murphy and company. He’s pissed off and for good reason. Hate seems to trump common sense in a lot of ways these days and it’s hard to find a reason for all of it. Over the album’s 8 songs, the theme is love, yes, but there is a dark anxiety underneath it all. Raising children in this day and age certainly cannot be easy. For every positive step forward in a young person’s life, there is fear of reality for the parent.
Listen to A Love Sleeps Deep and buy the record HERE: