Mindwaves is the third studio album by relatively unknown British band The Moons, a band I stumbled upon quite by accident when I heard one of my favorite British musicians Paul Weller sing on a track off their last album Fables of History. After releasing two very good albums, where they explored everything from baroque pop to mod pop, the band has decided to go down a more experimental psychedelic rock route with Mindwaves, all be it, with mixed results.
The overall sound of Mindwaves is high on psychedelics and the band experiments with tone, layers of sound, as well as what are often quite complex rhythms at times. There is an explosion of sonic guitars, ferocious drums, and synths coming at the listener from all directions as if like Rick Wakeman had infiltrated proceedings. While the seed that sews the sound altogether is the now trademark Moons sound of double-tracked pop vocals. So, this all sounds very intriguing to potential listeners like me, but how does the music actually stack up on the record?
Well, the album does not start well in its quest to impress me, with a pointless instrumental called “Luna Intro” arghhhhhhhh!!! I hate one-minute instrumentals. Luckily though next track “Society” is a psychedelic rocker with a harder edge to it than has been seen on previous Moon albums, while “Body Snatchers” is an experimental Kasabian-like neo-psychedelic number, which pushes things along nicely. “Fever” is next, and apart from the song’s intro sounding like the intro to the Black Keys “Howling For You”, this song really takes the album up a gear with its Sgt Pepper synths, psychedelic guitar and interesting chord changes. One of the album highlights for sure. “Vertigo” I would describe as being a kind of psychedelic dance track, with its sick drum pattern and buzzy psych sounds. Songs like this show how much more the band are experimenting on this record and their willingness I guess to try new things without feeling the need to settle on any particular formula for recording.
“All in My Mind” does not set the world alight, but “Heart and Soul” definitely does and for my mind is the best track on the album. It kicks off with a glam rock guitar riff, think Slade, think T Rex and pounds its way to an epic finale. This is glam pop at its best, and it is literally music to my ears. “You Can’t Slow Me Down” is basic filler, while “Sometimes” is a bore, but thankfully the energy and attitude comes back with “Time’s Not Forever”, and “Rage and Romance”, the latter which contains a wonderfully surprising violin solo and a moment which I would describe as being the albums Frank Zappa moment. Finally, the album comes to an end with the six-minute ballad “On the Moon”. Here the band was setting themselves up for that big anthemic finale, you know, the moment at festivals where everyone puts their ciggie lighters in the air. However, in actual fact, this song is a massive disappointment and plods along as if the band is simply trying to use up the last bit of space on the record.
So, all in all, in summing up the album, I would say that Mindwaves is not as good as their last release which in my mind was a super album, with there being some good songs on here sprinkled in amongst some lesser tracks. The band clearly go for a more experimental sound on this release which I applaud them for, and move away from the baroque pop and psychedelic pop of their first two albums, but, in the end, I was kind of expecting something more out of all of it as a result. In conclusion then not a great disappointment, but in no way a towering achievement either.