Meetings And Greetings
Shoot Down The Moon is approaching a decade of making music, not really a noteworthy fact until you consider that the members average about 24 years of age. The band sounds polished and assured in its style, which blends elements of funk, folk, and country into a neo-classic rock mélange that undeniably suggests “jam band.” The well-crafted Meetings And Greetings has a bunch of solid individual songs, but as a whole, it’s much too mellow for its own good.
The first half of the album languishes in pleasant, harmonious wankery. Good-natured wah-wah leads intertwine with clean, reverb-laden riffs for what might constitute a solid foundation for improvisation, but only the excellent “Even The Ground Now” and the very end of “Roll Alone” provide even mild tension. “Chalk It Up” is atmospherically pleasing, but it suffers from a cliché riff (essentially Live’s “Lightning Crashes”) that’s too lethargic to have any impact. “Passion Play” and “Goodbye Blue Eyes” form a very My Morning Jacket-esque suite in the middle of the record—a slow, angsty indie rocker reminiscent of “Off The Record,” and a slow, country-ish saunter, respectively.
By this point, the molasses beats plus the uncanny similarity of both Matt Flanagan’s and Jake McDonald’s sleepy singing to that of Elliott Smith inspire grogginess—not to mention a few obvious drug references strewn throughout the lyrics. ”Winter” takes on the breezy elements of Modest Mouse, injecting some much-needed upbeat momentum into the album. “Hip’s Song” and “Momentary Meditation/Paralysis” evoke a stoner-rock-lite feel, contributing a hint of casual darkness, but still nothing eye-popping. The album wraps up with quite a bit more energy than it began with, but that’s not saying much.
(Shoot Down The Moon celebrates the release of Meetings And Greetings Oct. 31 at Yield.)