Poor Moon, Illusion
Perhaps one of Poor Moon's previous monikers (one they used when booking a local gig in Seattle before the band got things officially going): Peppermint Majesty, describes the sounds and vibe of the band better than I ever could with further superfluous adjectives. I'm half-kidding (but as I typed it I realized it may actually be true) but it doesn't get much more flower-power than "Peppermint Majesty"! That's what I thought when I first listened to the Illusion EP. It sounded like this band was from another era, one where you go to San Francisco and don't forget to wear flowers in your hair.
Poor Moon is the collective of Casey Wesgott and Christian Wargo from Fleet Foxes and brothers Ian and Peter Murray. Their sound is mellow and everything my sixties references describe. There are airy guitars, billowing choruses, and wide open sonic spaces. The fellas harmonize beautifully however, and while I'm not the biggest fan of this style of vintage rock, I think Poor Moon also manages to sound pleasantly unique. They're almost like Fleet Foxes would sound flying high on the world's finest dope. While the mood may be a bit Velvet Underground (some of the caverness vocal reverbs remind me of their sound here as well) musically they're far tighter and more controlled.
The title track kicks it off with sharply recorded guitar rifts and a sound that feels like the recording of a flock of distant birds floating into and then fading out of the soundstage; followed by those echoey vocals I mentioned above. The mood is, (you guessed it) very relaxed. These songs make for a killer soundtrack to play while sitting on the porch with your girl (or guy), just chilling, watching the sunset. "People in Her Mind" picks things up. It's no rocker, but it feels more Simon and Garfunkel than Hermits Mermits. "Once Before" and "Widow" keep up the same hippie pace. At first I wasn't sure what to make of Illusion. After another listen, I realized that I was spending more time trying to pigeon-hole the music rather than merely listen.
After I got off that trip I began to enjoy this album immensely. It's nothing earth-shattering or genre-bending, but it's a solid EP. Hopefully this is just an appetizer; with only five tracks, you feel like the story is only half-finished. I am looking forward to more music from Poor Moon. If you were there for the Summer of Love (or, if you're a fan of that golden era of new music discovery) I suggest you check this out. I may not have been there for Woodstock, but this record also takes me back to a time and place in my own life when the worries of the day were girls and music, not paying the rent and taking out the garbage.