Tuesday, November 5, 2013

REVIEW: SPRIGHTLY MOANS - DEMOS II


So, a sprightly moan sounds pretty sensual to me. “Moan” is one of those words that I immediately attribute to a sexual act, even though most of its supposed synonyms refer to vocal exclamations of pain or sadness. That might reveal excessive information regarding my coital preferences.

Sprightly Moans are a rock duo based in Austin, TX, where the motto “Keep Austin Weird” adorns countless T-shirts and the bustling music scene encourages experimentation. Sprightly Moans keep their sound based in the harder realms of garage rock, with Jeff Olson’s drums invoking the frantic percussive work of vintage James Gang or Bill Ward’s work with Black Sabbath. Carving out their own grungy, modern take on psychedelic hard rock, they explore the wilderness between chaotic power and gentle melody, falling somewhere between bands like The Golden Grass and Gozu. Sprightly Moans play music for beer drinking, high-fiving, and billiard disputes, capturing the raucous spirit of a bar at last call, with rhythms that roll with tumbleweed abandon and riffs that can punch holes through sheet metal. On Demos II, their sold-out limited edition follow up to the predictably titled Demos I, the duo share three tracks of amplified rebellion.

“Brinkmanship” kicks off the jam and bangs heads with heavy blues and Dave Wirth’s high-register slide guitar. The thundering drums provide a deliberate, swaggering tempo that feels like the epitome of cool-handed confidence. Although it’s a noisy, jagged musical arrangement, the song sports a smooth vocal hook, although the vocal volume does seem a bit high in the mix during the verses. “Twin Kilns” rocks loudly, with vocals that sway in a jet-stream breeze over the pulsing guitars and drums, reminding me of Canned Heat covering Mudhoney. The song has a tasty crunch to it, and seems in danger of derailing at any moment, providing a sense of danger before Olson and Wirth takes the reins back. I love music that teeters on the cliff ledge and regains composure, and this song dances on that precipice like it could perch their happily for years. “Dots and Dashes” rollicks with Pearl Jam’s Ten intensity, if their songs were crusted with bong resin and desert dust. It’s the best performance of the album and makes me eager to hear more from these trouble-makers.

Three songs may feel like an appetizer here, but I’m confident they’ll lead to an upcoming entree that should have fans of classic rock, heavy blues, and Slint-flavored noise to salivate. Give Demos II a listen over here, and enjoy Sprightly Moans bringing the volume and the groove:  http://www.sprightlymoans.com/music/

And join their Facebook family over at:  https://www.facebook.com/sprightlymoans

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