Moondog Matinee come from Reno, Nevada. When you come from The Biggest Little City In The World and are proud of it (not that there’s any reason you shouldn’t be) you better have a big sound. You’d better be loud, proud and you’d better be larger than life. That’s exactly what Moondog Matinee have with their album Carry Me, Rosie.
Blue-eyed soul is the best way to describe Moondog Matinee‘s tower of power sound. The music of so many of Carry Me, Rosie‘s songs such as Ghost Dime, I Wanna Know and Put Me Down have a riff heavy yet mellow sound to them, but add singer Pete Barnato‘s voice to them and you’ve got an energy unlike any I’ve ever really heard. With a voice that reminds me of the power of Brent Smith (before Shinedown became the Nickelback wannabe’s they are today) and the absolute soul of Chris Robinson, as well as some big charisma that reminds me of Andrew Wood, we have one of the most unique vocal efforts I think I’ve ever reviewed.
Pete’s voice does get to be a little much on but one track, Last Night The Devil Learned My Name. Mind you, the song is perhaps Carry Me, Rosie‘s best earworm, and the music proportion of the track is as fine as any that Moondog Matinee play, but Pete Barnato’s use of primarily one note (a Gb to be exact) on the songs chorus doesn’t sit well with me. I could very much be alone on this, and since I always have a band’s best interest I hope I am.
Moondog Matinee‘s powerhouse sound isn’t totally reliant on Pete Barnato’s vocals. Wild Way and Gold are two songs where the music is as bluesy and soulful as the vocals, with a little more meat to the sound than most others on Carry Me, Rosie. Wild Way shows the edgier side, while Gold is where that Chris Robinson sound really comes in to play. The only song that sounds more heavy hearted is the ballad ‘Til The Sun Goes Grey.
The songs that show the true song writing prowess of Moondog Matinee are found at the end of Carry Me, Rosie. Starting with the six minute The Western Sea‘s slow intro that features just that best sounding organ adding even more soul – if that’s still possible – to Moondog Matinee’s sound, before breaking into an onslaught of blues boogies unlike any heard so far on Carry Me, Rosie. Then the closing track Mexico, also a song that runs over six minutes, ends things similarly to the previous track, just with less of an immediate edge. Instead, Mexico just gradually gets louder as the song progresses.
Moondog Matinee seem to be one of those bands that aren’t doing much wrong. They succeed at sounding larger than life, and they’ve got that blue-eyed soul sound down pat. Carry Me, Rosie doesn’t sound like an album of songs that should have been made in the 70s, but it does sound like something that was heavily influenced by past greats ranging from Jimi Hendrix to The Band (whose album Moondog Matinee is surely where the band got their name from) with a sound modernized enough to make it’s originality bloom.
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“Put Me Right” – I don’t know if there’s a true highlight, but this song blends in some of Moondog Matinee‘s best elements both vocally and musically, enough to give first time listeners a great introductory track.
8 (Out of 10)
|3||I Wanna Know||4:50|
|4||Last Night the Devil Learned My Name||4:50|
|6||Put Me Right||3:49|
|7||‘Til the Sun Goes Grey||3:37|
|8||The Western Sea||6:07|