Moose Almighty (Unpacks 'The Luggage Underneath') Album Review
Well, I’m back and with more album reviews and even cooler names like Moose Almighty! I had never heard of this band before getting their submission but was immediately intrigued and knew I had to get them on www.jambandpurist.com and hopefully Out Of My Mind (VLOG, Podcast) coming soon. Hailing from Seattle, Washington Moose Almighty includes: Dan Underkofler (Keyboards, Synthesizers, Vocals), Chris Young (Guitar, Vocals), Aaron Mitchell (Bass, Vocals), and Kevin Shoop (Drums, Vocals). This psychedelic, groove-rock quartet has released their sophomore album ‘The Luggage Underneath’ today, August 7, and will be performing the album via live streaming from High Dive in Seattle. ‘The Luggage Underneath’ will be available on Spotify or Apple Music and https://moosealmighty.bandcamp.com/. Please excuse me if I nerd out on this review a bit and describe things in a way that I usually would not. If you read terms like, sick, nasty, or tasty jams used more than once, please just overlook. Its been a while since I have reviewed a band with extended jams on their album.
“Gilded Guilt” opens with a nasty guitar riff (here I go, already) begins to follows the rules set down by the original jam bands: improvisation, extended leads, stops, and breaks, massive crescendos. Just listening to the first few notes of “Gilded Guilt” made me want to review this album in its entirety. I am impressed with Moose Almighty's sound and musical presence from this opening track. The presentation and musicality within this song have me looking forward to what they will bring forth next. The shredding guitar solo from Chris Young gives "Gilded Guilt" a silky smooth feel. The lyrics are thought-provoking and provide a precise mixture to the music. The intro to this song is what captivates the listener and draws them into the sound, readying them for what is to come.
“Lapis Lazuli Julie” reminds me of some transdimensional version of a Grateful Dead or String Cheese Incident song. "Lapis Lazuli Julie" embodies many of these jam band love songs. Much like “Scarlett Begonias,” “Lapis Lazuli Julie” invites the listener on a journey describing a beautiful hippie-type woman. While the guitar solos from Chris Young and rhythms from drummer, Kevin Shoop, sound a lot like Phish, they still very original. Man, It feels so good to be back reviewing real jam bands!
“The Wave” begins with heavy bass tones from Aaron Mitchell, the band slowly adds and develops more from there. Moose Almighty can add a reggae vibe but still keep this song jam-worthy. The changes in this song are inimitable, loaded with jams and exceptional instrumentation from the entire band. I love the change at 6:30, with a darker jam than what we have previously heard. “The Wave” is definitely my favorite song off of ‘The Luggage Underneath’ and remains so after a many listens.
“Blurry Lovers” encompasses an entirely different feel. A country and Western swing that we have not heard from Moose Almighty yet on ‘The Luggage Underneath.‘ Lyrically driven and compelling, “Blurry Lovers” is a capable segue into other songs on this album. While the vocal melody is not my favorite, I hear some real promise in their harmonic abilities.
“Spoonbender” brings mental powers like ESP and even The Amazing Randy, a notable psychic skeptic, and magician, to my mind. I have always been fascinated with paranormal studies and people claiming to have "superpowers." I am intrigued by the vocals of 'Spoonbender' and would love to hear Moose Almighty work this one up in a longer live version. I can envision the improvisational aspects of each of these songs from the recordings and try to picture myself in a concert setting while listening. It is the closest I can get right now. This song is creative, engaging, and musically progressive, right up my alley. I would listen to “Spoonbender” over and over again, more than any other song on the album.
“Impassive Aggressive” is quite the opposite of "Spoonbender" but does show the juxtaposition between the genres that Moose Almighty explores. The ending to "Impassive Aggressive" is high energy and nothing less than I would expect from what Moose Almighty has already given us on this album.
“Voice Of The Universe” begins with those heavy bass notes from Aaron Mitchell presenting this song with a darker tone that is different than the other songs on 'The Luggage Underneath.' I find the lyrics to “Voice Of The Universe” the most thought out and well arranged on the entire album. Quite introspective and still keeping those storytelling aspects alive. The descriptions within the lyrics envelope the listener in thought and sound. “Voice Of The Universe” opens up into an extensive ambient jam and again impressed me with the raw energy delivered.
“Six Plus Five” features Dan Underkofle heavily on the keys and seems to be a great track to end 'The Luggage Underneath.' This instrumental track is right behind "The Wave" for me in terms of excitement level. Jams like "Six Plus Five" are the reason I still love doing album reviews and sharing music with all of my readers. “Six Plus Five” is uplifting, exciting, and all-around rhapsodic. This song is comparative to many of the finest up-and-coming acts that I have heard in the jam scene today. Moose Almighty blows the doors off this last track, leaving me completely satisfied with my listening experience.
‘The Luggage Underneath’ in its entirety is something that Moose Almighty should be very proud to release. This album is possibly the most ambitious and most promising I have reviewed here at www.jambandpurist.com. While some aspects of the recording may be a little rough around the edges, Moose Almighty makes up for that with raw energy and impressive musicianship. As with many bands I review here at JBP, I am positive that Moose Almighty would be even better live and in person. While I have not been able to see any live music due to all the craziness in this world, I do hold out hope that we will all be able to return to the live music that we love soon. Until then, I will be checking out Moose Almighty's live stream tonight from High Dive. Join me!
For more from Moose Almighty check them out here:
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Editor: Robert (R.A.) Fadley
Freelance Writer, Musicologist, Music Journalist, Music Critic, Music Writer, Author, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Guitarist.