Moon were a sort of second-tier supergroup in the late 1960s, led by pianist and songwriter Matthew Moore, drummer and producer Larry Brown (late of the Bel-Aires and Davie Allan & the Arrows), and ex-Beach Boy David Marks on guitar, with Andy "Drew" Bennett on bass (Bennett was replaced by the time of the group's second album by David Dawson, formerly of Hearts & Flowers). For all that pedigree, though, Moon received little support from their label, Imperial Records, and the group's two albums, 1968's Without Earth and 1969's Moon, went virtually unheard when they were released. Fans of period pop psychedelia found the albums irresistible, however, and the group has enjoyed a kind of low-key cult status ever since, leading to Rev-Ola's reissue of both albums on one CD, along with a handful of bonus tracks that include a couple of mono 45 mixes and three tracks from Moore's pre-Moon band, Matthew Moore Plus 4. Sounding a bit like a low rent version of the Zombies or the Left Banke, it is easy to see why fans of baroque-'60s pop are so enamored of Moon, but like many bands from the era who fell under the influence of the Beatles, the absence of strong songs and melodies all too often renders the heavily phased and string-laden arrangements forgettable as soon as the next track begins. Not that the group doesn't get close to |pop-psych heaven here with songs like "Someday Girl," the goofy, sitar-laced "Brother Lou's Love Colony," or the ultra-Beatlesque "Give Me More" (all from Without Earth), it's just that the swirl of the arrangements can't hide the fact that none of these songs are particularly front line. The songs from the second album, Moon, fare better, as Brown (both albums were recorded at his Continental Sounds studio) cuts back a bit on the orchestration and Moore simply delivers better material, like the haunting, beautiful "Lebanon" or the intriguing "Life Is a Season," which has Moore singing lines like "comprehension wields the sword that kills the fear" with agile, melodic ease. Also worth mentioning is the reincarnation revenge song "Pirate," which has a plot line so bizarre that it can't help but be memorable. When all is said and done, one wishes Moon had gotten a crack at a third album, since they were clearly inching toward the kind of uniqueness that might have allowed them to rise above their influences.
Limited till March, 20, 2017