Imagine taking a few months off in order to spend some quality time doing whatever you are passionate about. This is exactly how moonweather approached the making of their first record sit down be small: During the summer months last year, Colin, Bobby and Billy came together with local musicians and created something that has left Quiff weak with wonder:
“We quit our jobs for a summer and built the studio, with help from our friend Jon. The whole idea was that we weren’t going to rush the writing and recording this time around. We simplified the amount of things we were trying to do. There weren’t any festival application deadlines, or shows to practice sets for. Just a few of us in a basement taking our time writing and recording until we were happy with the result.”, states Colin.
The opening track is an experimental sound potpourri stitching together little patches from the album without revealing too much; like a hand surrounded by haze and hope reaching out to guide you through the intricate, yet joyous tangle.
Burn Me with its remarkably well-conceived orchestration is an impeccable example of how the carefully selected instruments and feelings expressed within this multifarious swirl correlate with each other: “Notice low, red low/See your breath as it/Slows” The trumpet flutters between the pattering drums and the soothing cello, reiterating the words with pleasure and purity – an aural manifesto that is floating free but in perfect time to the beat like a nimble-footed and light-hearted dancer.
The Quiff staggers and sways as the record moves on, giddy with excitement, appeasing his thirst with a fine pinch of musical ambiguity. Heads Up plays with contrasting spirits, it leaves the beguiled listener on his own, floating in anticipation but buried in thought, a dark aftertaste whispering across his throat: “Hold your head up by a smile/Piles of garbage thrown, creeping like the sub-floor/When you know you’re dead and gone/Taste the moon on your tongue.” Colin admits that “the music has a little bit of an upbeatness to it that the lyrics don’t really share.”
Nevertheless, moonweather have the rare ability to create vivid images in Quiff’s head that make him run along a gust pebble beach, pause in wistfulness standing amongst the ever-moving throng of city life or catapult him foolishly into the sky. Too Soon is probably the album’s empathetic masterpiece. The floating guitar and subdued horns gently war with vocals of urgent supplication. It’s a song about struggling with life and making mistakes, about regret and realisation, all combined in the recurring line “I should’ve known better.”
The genuine storytelling is complemented by the neatly styled musical arrangements, which reflect a sense of togetherness. That sit down be small is a team effort is plainly audible in every song and this has a great impact on the record’s cohesiveness. The result is manifested within the process; refined by the innovative input from a dozen musicians: “There was just a constant feedback loop happening, and people were adding all their different flavors to the mix. We’d try to explain to them the part that we wanted them to play and then they’d come up with something totally new and unexpected. The whole process was just so unpredictable and exciting.”
2017 has been a year of extraordinary songs rather than the coherent records that are so essential for the Quiff’s survival, his love and longing – and moonweather fed the Quiff well with the band’s precise feeling for timing, the sheer beauty of instrumentation and the common bond this album creates.
Self-critically, Colin, Bobby and Billy (and now Michael) are already planning their next undertaking: “We’re working on our second album right now, and it’s a goal of ours to have lyrics that are a little more concrete in what they mean, with stronger themes threaded throughout every song.”
You can get the moonweather record (for free) from their Bandcamp page.