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CD REVIEW: Moonspank - You Thought the World Was Over
By Chip Withrow - 06/02/2009 - 04:02 PM EDT

Artist: Band: Moonspank
Album: You Thought the World Was Over
Genre: Folk/Rock/Pop
Sounds Like: U2's poppier side, a cut above modern folk rock
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: Relive the Day, Womb Boy, In the Rain
CD Review: I listen to most albums I get in a few different contexts before deciding whether to review them. So on a gorgeous Saturday morning, I popped this disc into the car stereo and headed to the beach, and You Thought the World Was Over rang out vibrantly.

Now here I am listening again on Monday morning at work, and I still feel that Moonspank’s ambition places it loftily above most commercially-inclined folk-rock outfits. The opening track, “Alright,” sounds like an acoustic pop-rock hit, but richer than the usual fare, with an interesting arpeggioed bridge. On the equally catchy “Relive the Day,” Greg Saracino’s organ and electric piano soar soulfully above the acoustic vibe. “I Say” crackles with intensity on the strength of Dave Kerry’s vocal gifts. On “My Imagination,” Tony Pax weighs in with inventive grungy-yet-airy electric guitar work.

“Womb Boy” changes the pace, a jazz-soul number with a heavy groove – again, Kerry’s voice takes off. The ballad “Beauty” is wistfully anguised, and “Electric Freak 2” bounces along at a rocking clip, the strumming taking on a U2-like quality. “In the Rain” is another of several songs that would fit right in on radio – it maintains folk-pop appeal, but is near-orchestral in instrumental and vocal power.

Saracino does double duty on keys and drums, and his percussion drives numbers such as “Toddeus” and “Always Dream.” In fact, if I have one quarrel with this release, it is that the songs might have been sequenced differently – the first five songs cruise along at the same tempo, and some of the heavier numbers that come later might have been placed in between the acoustic-based songs. But no matter what order you listen to them in, just about every song on this new Moonspank set is sparkling and inventive.

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