Friday, January 17, 2014

Moonlit Sailor - Colors In Stereo

Among of all of the holiday craziness and the busiest shopping weekend of the year, I happened upon the lovely and inspiring album by Moonlit Sailor, 2011's Colors In Stereo. 

Thanksgiving weekend I found an email from Deep Elm Records about their own "drop" on Sound Supply, a site where every week they offer 15 digital albums, in high-quality FLAC or MP3 for $10. Really cool concept. Deep Elm has a good track record, and I've picked up some good stuff from them in the past, so I took a listen to clips from the 15 albums being offered on the drop to see if it was worth picking up.

There were a lot of cool artists, it was a great mix of different sounds, Deep Elm has an excellent and diverse catalog, so I was feeling pretty convinced. But there was one track that stood out to me, the one from Colors In Stereo.  I bought the drop, and couldn't wait for it to finish downloading so I could listen to this

Moonlit Sailor play instrumental rock, but that label alone doesn't seem to do them justice. If I were to compare them to one of the more popular acts in this genre, Explosions In The Sky, which are great in their own right, I'd say the songs on Colors In Stereo sound more urgent, moving, and instrumentally more narrative, as if they traversing several emotions in one song. There's a lot of comparisons I could make, but I the closest I can describe using other bands, would probably be Explosions In The Sky meets Mineral meets The Gaslight Anthem.

A lot of instrumental rock is more "instrumental" than "rock," a lot of swoony twinkling guitars and swirling of sounds building to a crescendo and then falling back down. This is not a bad thing, but sometimes you just wanna roll the windows down and tap your foot to a good beat. Moonlit Sailor delivers on this front. The songs sound like they just want to burst out of your headphones, yes the twinkly guitars are there, but they are accompanied by a powerful in your face and driving rhythm section that fuels the engine of their music.The songs feature beautiful breakdowns, build ups and change-ups that make you pay attention to them rather than letting them fade into the background.

More than once I found myself getting choked up and on the verge of tears when listening to these songs, for no particular reason other than that they spurred that involuntarily reaction in me. Now that may sound cheesy, and don't get me wrong, I do LOVE music, like a lot, but that doesn't happen that often, let alone with instrumental music, let alone on more than one occasion with the same song. This album soars and explodes, but calms and soothes when it needs to, it hits all the right notes at the right times and  builds to uplifting and spectacular vistas of the human soul, taking you along for the ride. This is the album you have that nice pair of headphones or the nice sound system in your car for, it's meant to be played loud, and experienced. It's the type of album that reminds us why we fell in love with music in the first place.

Artist: Moonlit Sailor
Album: Colors In Stereo
Year Released: 2011
Label: Deep Elm

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