Moose Almighty: ‘Spare Parts’ Full Album Review by Jam Band Purist
As many of my readers are aware, Moose Almighty, one of my favorite up-and-comers from the Northwest territory, have just released their third album ‘Spare Parts.’ It was my pleasure to work with this group in the past and I always welcome follow-up reviews. It’s amazing to see bands transition, grow and advance from album to album. Check out my past review of their previous album 'The Luggage Underneath' here: https://www.jambandpurist.com/home/moose-almighty-unpacks-the-luggage-underneath-album-review I am hoping to get Moose Almighty on my new video blog, Out Of My Mind, which is finally premiering this summer after a long delay. With www.jambandpurist.com readership up in the past few weeks, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and I’m happy to introduce this album ‘Spare Parts’ to you all. Thank you all for your continued support!
Recorded in their home studio ‘Spare Parts’ is a modern approach to the classic rock album with a twist of improvisation and a live approach. Moose Almighty features Dan Underkofler (Keyboards, Synthesizers, Guitar, Vocals), Chris Young (Guitar, Vocals), Aaron Mitchell (Bass, Vocals), and Kevin Shoop (Drums, Vocals, Audio Engineering). While Moose Almighty would consider themselves Indie Rock, they have roots in Jam, Funk, Blues, and Hard Rock. ‘Spare Parts’ is ambitious, tenacious, and highly eclectic. ‘Spare Parts’ shows the growth and knowledge that this band has acquired from their last studio endeavor, while also incorporating what they have learned playing live shows. Moose Almighty has stepped into another level with ‘Spare Parts' and it’s undeniable. This album seems like the perfect successor to ‘The Luggage Underneath’ but with significant growth and a shift in dynamic studio engineering and energy. ‘Spare Parts’ just feels like a live album all around.
Let’s start with “Nine O'Clock Shadow” which immediately draws me in with such an interesting song title; very original and catchy. The opening guitar riff is reminiscent of early Phish (or something of the like) but softens into a poignant, lyrically-driven song. This song collides into a cacophony following the guitar solo and then blends harmoniously ending in quite a unique opening for ‘Spare Parts.’
“Katie Bar The Door” was the first single released off ‘Spare Parts’ and I was able to re-listen to this song many times. “Katie Bar The Door” truly exemplifies Moose Almighty’s sound and musical concept, not only on this new album but overall. Honest and passionate, “Katie Bar The Door” shows the many aspects that comprise this band and make them greater due to the sum of all parts. The intro is highly developed and musically demanding which leaves a distinct impression upon the listener. "Daylight in the swamp now, cant you feel it, this ol' gingers got kick man and leaves me reelin'." Simple and eloquent.
“No Brains, No Headache” just makes sense to me! This arrangement is by far my favorite track from ‘Spare Parts.’ With a live aesthetic and compelling vocal arrangement, “No Brains, No Headache” is hard-hitting and provocative. The instrumentation alone makes “No Brains, No Headache” stand out from the other tracks on this album. The guitar solo and the keyboard interweave harmoniously together as if this duel solo seemingly coils and wraps around itself like two snakes in the heat of battle. The experimentation and execution of this track show a glimpse into the future of Moose Almighty's sound and vision. Applying this formula to their forthcoming songs would only help solidify their strong songwriting aptitude.
“Next Fall” opens with a prototypical guitar riff that could come out of any Classic Rock band's 1970s catalog. “Next Fall” is hard-hitting, energetic, and compelling; this is another track with a live approach and I can’t help but imagine this song played in a live setting with the band going full MOOSE. “Next Fall's” lyrics appear about midway through the song's development and add a distinctive element to this dynamic arrangement; which feels quite epic.
“Mountain” completely changes the aesthetic of the album and veers into Prog-Rock territory (Right up my alley) with an almost Neo-Psychedelic, King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard impression. The reverb is oozing forth and the distinct effects used in this song add to the haunting chord structure and ethereal vocals. “Mountain” breaks down harder than any track on ‘Spare Parts’ and completely shifts the tone into more experimental techniques. The lyrics, “I pressed every detail into the sands of my mind.” Stand out to me beyond any lyrics on this album. “Mountain” ends with an unconstrained guitar solo that is again, unrivaled on ‘Spare Parts.’
The funky guitar riff combines with bass and then the Clavi kicks “Hot Wax” into high-gear instantaneously. The back half of ‘Spare Parts’ is funky, hard, and Jam-worthy with notable musicianship from the entire band. It's hard to pinpoint the exact dynamics of each individual player because Moose Almighty works so well together as a cohesive unit. “Hot Wax” adds another layer of musicality to Moose Almighty’s sound as a whole. With an early electronica emphasis ie: Disco Biscuits, Moose Almighty is again testing the experimental waters as their music ability grows and their bond as a band matures and evolves.
The final track from ‘Spare Parts’, “Florida” is a genuine love song that expresses the passion of loss, love, and moving on from past burdens or sorrows. While this song is much slower than the other tracks on ‘Spare Parts’ and the tone deviates, the solo section itself is a beautiful flowering arrangement that is an amazing choice to end this album. “Florida” leaves me wanting more and wanting to know more about this band itself and their songwriting techniques. I look forward to discussing this further with the group in the coming months on Out Of My Mind.
‘Spare Parts’ is a well-produced and thought-out home studio album. Moose Almighty continues to surprise me with their growth and development. With the right direction and mentorship, I truly believe Moose Almighty can take their talents even further. With concert and summer music festivals seemingly returning, the Almighty Moose is poised to gain a great reputation and increase their fanbase on all platforms within the live music scene. Moose Almighty should lean into experimentation, improvisation, and arrangement where they seem most comfortable. It was an honor to review this album and share it with you all. I look forward to the fourth installment of the Moose!
‘Spare Parts’ is available here:
Apple Music Link:
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Editor: Robert (R.A.) Fadley
Freelance Writer, Musicologist, Music Journalist, Music Critic, Music Writer, Author, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Guitarist.