Moonshine Hooligans: Subterranean Secrets - Album of the Month No 3 - February 2011

~ Thursday, 17 February 2011
What is it about February. I can't recall a month when we have received so many great albums, hence why we find ourselves with 3 albums of the month and this record is a truly worthwhile recipient of that title. Brothers Matthew and Stuart Watson should be stars. No doubt about it. Listening to Subterranean Secrets is like having the best bits of Fleet Foxes, Arcade Fire, Midlake, The Band, Bruce Springsteen and Crosby, Stills and Nash put into a blender and sprinkled with the Watson siblings considerable songwriting talent.

The 8 tracks on here are not lyric heavy, leaning more on the instrumentation to carry the melody with some inspired arrangements and fantastic playing. Personally, they had me hooked from the first few bars of the aptly titled Intro with its backward reverb, Mellotron and repetitive vocal harmonies. B for Banjo takes up where Intro leaves off and reveals itself to be a psychedelic work out which is driven along by the interaction of the banjo, guitar riffs and Bronwyn Keith-Hynes excellent fiddle playing.

The Knife Waltz just nudges it in the stand out track stakes. This is a song that I just keep having to hit the repeat button on. I imaging if the Fleet Foxes and Arcade Fire did a single together it would sound just like this. The Country Line highlights another side of the bands sound with the stripped back arrangement of acoustic guitar, piano and vocals working in perfect harmony with Mark Goldstein's robust production. Really beautiful. The sound shifts again with the country square dance of Arcadia, and along with Moonshine Theme, shows they know how to put their tongue firmly in their cheeks.

Hold on a minute..... Reggae! Yes we did say Reggae. By now you should not be surprised by anything on this album but when Moonshine Dub kicks in, Reggae is what we have. Perhaps more of what Sting and The Police's idea of Reggae is but Reggae never the less and they pull it of majestically. What they cram into these 8 tracks is a breathtaking achievement. I've never felt more sure that a band deserves success more than these guys. Buy this album. Everyone needs to own a record like this.

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