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(53:36, Zeelley Moon)
TRACK LIST 1. Itchy Feet 3:32 2. Smile 7:01 3. Tricks and Tragedy 5:52 4. The Tick Tock 4:41 5. See Me Fly 2:35 6. Weight of the World 3:47 7. Designer Crime 5:17 8. Living on the Water 5:50 9. Feel so Real 7:01 10. Out of the Blue 8:00 LINEUP: Patrick Molesworth - vocals, piano, keyboards, orchestral arrangements with: Tony Dodd - bass Geoff Bolam - bass, guitars Tony Dubinski - guitars Nobby Birch - drums Mike Bennett - drums Manna Ash - drums Esta B. Daley - backing vocals Orsola Musica - spoken words I-Chen Huang - spoken words
Prolusion. UK band ZEELLEY MOON has a fairly long and somewhat convoluted history, with the roots of the band going back to 2006, the actual band formation took place in 2010 and the current incarnation of the band dating back to 2012, when the band in effect was rebooted. "Zeelley Moon" is their debut album, and was self-released in 2017.
Analysis. Zeelley Moon describe their music as unique, and I think that this is one of those cases where such a description can be truthfully applied as well. Those with a longer presence on Mother Earth than what I have will most likely have encountered quite a few bands exploring similar landscapes back in the 1970's though, as I got a distinct vintage vibe from the songs on this CD. Other than that, I guess piano based progressive rock with strong pop sensibilities may well be the best way to summarize the music explored. When making comparisons towards other bands, I see others have name-dropped Supertramp when trying to describe the music of Zeelley Moon. I think that is a fair starting point too, with the prominent use of acoustic and electric piano and how that instrument appears to be the most vital ingredient throughout, alongside the fact that most if not all songs have that pop music sensibility that I suspect most people would mention in that context. But there is a bit more going on here as well of course. By and large, Zeelley Moon is a bit more relaxed in their excursions. Energetic for sure, with a good AOR tinged drive at times, but the arrangements are less dramatic and the lead vocals have a completely different character to them as well. Main man and vocalist Patrick Molesworth has a darker and somewhat gruffier vocal style, and appears to have a more limited range to boot, but he is also very much aware of his limitations and use his voice very well throughout, maximizing his potential and by and large shying away from taking on what he isn't able to master. Concluding cut Out of the Blue being the only slight exception, as the vocals are a bit more strained on that one. Careful guitar details and intelligent use of keyboard layers and organ are other vital ingredients of this production, backing up the piano, fleshing out the arrangements and installing a greater depth as well as supplying contrasts to the piano and the lead vocals. Nods in the direction of both jazz and blues have their place here, and what may or may not be slight tips of the hat in the direction of Genesis, Camel and Pink Floyd are noted. With a tight rhythm section that knows how to be energetic as well as when it is time for a more subtle approach, well developed songs and a fine mix and production, this is an album that is enjoyable throughout. The music is smooth and elegant, with many tracks that sounds like thy were made to be a perfect fit for FM radio. Easygoing compositions, but with a deeper albeit often subtle layer of sophistication that makes these songs something more than merely streamlined vintage era AOR.
Conclusion. Zeelley Moon is a band that draws inspiration from multiple sources. The prominent use of the piano and the manners in which it is used suggests that both piano men Elton John and Billy Joel are musicians main man Molesworth is familiar with, while the main parts of the songs and how they are set up indicates a familiarity to a band like Supertramp. He probably knows a wee bit about classical music too, and he or some of the band members know a thing or two about jazz as well. There's also some additional flavoring and arrangement details that suggests a familiarity with progressive rock giants Genesis, Camel and Gilmour-era Pink Floyd. If such a combination of likely sources of inspirations strikes you as intriguing, Zeelley Moon is a band that you probably should spend some time with.
Proguessor: April 20th 2019
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