Moon Over Mountain 2018
Coloradan duo paint the world in ocher and look for solid, and spiritual, ground on their debut.
“This moment is happening”: one would expect a “carpe diem” kind of approach from a band with a motto like this, yet keyboard player Kenneth Lee Roberts and vocalist Megan Buness don’t try and convey the sense of urgency on their first record, opting instead for the mostly unhurried flow. While the two composers apply pseudo-symphonic orchestration to the pieces that span baroque-tinctured songs and instrumental soundscapes to reflect on human existence, it’s mood rather than grandeur that’s the heart of “The Colors Of Life” – a core which expertly removes the personal in favor of a larger vista. Not for nothing the partners refrain from revealing details of the duo’s doings. They simply come to stay.
An entrance is rarely as wonderfully understated as “Yes, I Am Here”: a delicate blend of faux woodwind and half-hidden vocals by way of fanfare, before a full ambient panorama unfolds, letting infectious folk strum replace a cello and allowing the rhythm to set it all in motion. Still, the serene drift of what initially seems to be a sublime autumnal album will be blown to bits once beats and electronica arrive in “After The Work Is Done” and turn the tapestry from pastorale to rave, and this style-defying shift can cost the ensemble potential fans because the listener will be unsure as to where the artists may roam next.
Whether they’re simultaneously solemn and frisky, like in “A Walk In Fall Leaves” whose shimmering waves take the number away from a song form, or focused on polyphony – although “A Nation Divided” also harbors a drone to marry mantra to opera – these tracks evoke natural spirituality, and joie de vivre, too, what with the crystalline “Flying” clearly based on “Ode To Joy” and “One Life” bursting into a triumphant thunder of drums. It’s a very uneven, if not uneventful, album, so it’s not enough for a definition of who MOM are, yet almost every moment of it is truly pleasant indeed.