Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we delve deep into the band Fool Moon, and their new album, ‘Little Do We Know.’ Their sophomore effort is an ambitious one, with sixteen tracks offering quite a bit of meat to the bone. More isn’t always better, though, and that’s certainly been an issue for previous artists we’ve dug into. How does it work out for Fool Moon? Let’s find out.
Fool Moon doesn’t just have a clever name going for them. They’ve toured extensively, built up a modest following, won some radio contests, performed some sweet gigs, and have spent enough time in the studio to put out two studio records within seven years. Thus, they’re on an upward trajectory and have more going on than your typical group. Though ‘Little Do We Know’ is sixteen tracks, it’s more like twelve newbies, a cover, and three remastered versions of five year old tracks. So with that said, we’re going to delve into the first thirteen tracks for that reason.
From the get-go, Fool Moon makes two things abundantly clear: they’re hard rocking and their production quality is quite good. For an independent band, the mixes are excellent, and they’ll really begin to shine for you after the opener. ‘At The World’s Edge,’ is a good jam, but man, that title track has more going for it. That bluesy, soulful tune is exceptional. I also appreciate the diversity an acoustic introductory track like ‘Sorrow’ provides.
I spent about two hours with ‘Little Do We Know,’ listening to it from beginning to end and jumping around for awhile. Quickly, I came to a realization. While I dig the band when they really turn up the heat, they’re strongest when they dim the lights instead. By that, I mean softer-edged tracks like ‘’One Step Further’ and the searing ‘Often Thought’ are the defiant highlights of the collection. That isn’t to reduce the importance of the good rockers, though. ‘Honey I Know’ is a killer single.
Lyrically, I found the effort to be pretty diverse. The band jumps between hard, often alternative rock, and soft, ballad-based crooning. Critics have been citing the band’s guitar licks and solos as notable pieces of this enigmatic puzzle, and I’d have to agree. The guitar-play throughout is absolutely excellent. Despite that, I still found myself enamored most with the simplistic, stripped down songs like ‘Follow Me Home.’
Kick into overdrive, however, and Fool Moon has an entertaining arsenal at hand. The lullaby-like nature of ‘Follow Me Home’ is soon kicked in the shins in favor of 80s style shredding on ‘Ain’t Like Us.’ In fact, on my second run-through of the record, ‘Ain’t Like Us’ acclimated me to the band’s rocking jams a bit better, and I found tunes like ‘Wrong Turn’ more enjoyable as I spent a bit more time with them.
Now, the elephant in the room. It’s ballsy to cover Clapton. It’s even ballsier to cover such a classic Clapton tune, one that has such a rich history. Basically, the band adopts Clapton’s style. When he originally grabbed the music from J.J Cale, he rock and rolled it up. Cale’s legacy is that of an easy-going cowboy: he did most of his own production, plodded along and muttered vocals, and his songs were never much like the rock and roll renditions that hit it big. That said, I’m an insanely massive Cale fan, and actually prefer his take of the song. I digress; back to Fool Moon. It’s a well performed, but ultimately forgetful cover. The band would have been better served by taking more creative liberty, because this recording is just a watered down version of Clapton’s.
At the end of the day, ‘Little Do We Know’ is an absolutely stunning album. It actually manages to remain consistently interesting and surprising throughout - a very, very impressive feat when dealing with such a long album. I wouldn’t even say my Clapton remarks are a negative critique: everyone who isn’t Eric Clapton is a watered down Clapton. 'Cocaine' is a missed opportunity to get creative, though. This album is one of the best indie rock albums of the year thus far - Check it out below. If you’re a fan of rock and roll with a vintage 70s and 80s flair, this is right up your alley.