CD Review: The Moondoggies — Tidelands; Playing The EARL, January 26

The Moondoggies
Hardly Art

By Al Kaufman

Seattle’s Moondoggies have captured their town’s old grunge mentality while softening the sound. There is no fuzz and feedback on Tidelands. It is simply a gentle and melodic album of soul searching.

Some of Tidelands conjures up the sound of one who is considered the godfather of grunge: Neil Young. But their whiny vocals and guitars, most notably on “It’s a Shame, It’s a Pity,” recall Young during his After the Gold Rush era, before the feedback really hit. “Uncertain” blends their Young sound with a hint of George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord.” It’s a warm, secure, breathlessly easy sound.

Yet what The Moondoggies excel at is vocal harmonies. “What Took You So Long” is something the Jayhawks would have been proud to call their own. The gentle guitars and harmonies drive the pretty “Empress of the North,” while the colorful swirl of guitars and horns brings a nice flourish to the end of “We Can’t All Be Blessed.”

But it is “Lead Me On” that really shows what these Moondoggies are capable of achieving. The minor chorded charmer, led by Seth Warren’s haunting violin, also manages to incorporate a chugging drum beat and infectious chorus. It is a thing of beauty, even if it is a bitter, break-up song. That’s the thing about The Moondoggies – they make angst seem delightful.

Moondoggies play The EARL with Quiet Life on January 26.


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