The Moondoggies seem to pretty much got it going on these days, so much so that they need no word from Dolby Disaster to reiterate this (gasp)… first of all, they come from Washington state (the small city of Everett north of Seattle), which has to be kind to a band’s prowess in drawing upon a wealthy array of influences. They’ve garnered some seriously praising pub in Rolling Stone and even in just looking at the studio pictured in their Facebook page (which has retrieved 9,370 likes as of May 2018), you see that they’re used to doing things big, the walls of their sound room adorned with fancy red bulbs stocked on lavish red walls.
What will come off as most pleasing here to the seasoned rock fan upon a listen to A Love Sleeps Deep, their fourth album as a collective, is how refreshingly RHYTHMIC their brand of psych-rock pronounces itself as: the methodical wheel-churning of the grooves will mostly call to mind Neil Young and Crazy Horse and maybe a little funky James Brown, along with the sort of Jefferson Airplane type psychedelia, which I alluded to before. The songs are long and complex, full of optimistic, climbing guitars and layered, textural synth and organ. Still, the lyrics remain simple and digestible, which is a token for the album. When Kevin Murphy pleas that “We could live in the sunshine baby”, the song seems built AROUND this one imagistic theme, rather than spanned across time underneath a narrative, which would be the ploy of the less confident arbiters of the craft.
“Sick in Bed” shoulders in and nestles nicely and innocuously after the climactic “Match,” owning to much of the tension and ominous, snare-heavy drum beat we found on Band of Horses’ “Our Swords.” Nicely, the song seems to switch up frantically between major-chord pop and this minor-chord dirge feel, all the while with these pristine guitars arching up to the skies and outlining the songs with a sunny, psychedelic sheen. The song then dissolves at its conclusion into synthesizer oblivion, almost as if in vaporous cognitive dissonance, and so our minds regroup and prepare for the next tactile statement the quintet should make. Unfortunately, their next move is a regroup into the song that’s just played, which I think is sort of a mistake.
Granted, once the damaged and guttural vocal comes in on “Soviet Barn Fire,” you’re glad that your psyche has had that respite of inactivity for the two minutes prior. This is, in other words, an album that breathes well and that grooves legitimately, contrary to a common mistake these days which is the excessively close placement of awkwardly climactic statements.