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Moles - Tonight's Music

  by Erick Mertz

published: 30 / 9 / 2016

Moles - Tonight's Music
Label: Fire Records
Format: CD


Hit and miss first album in twenty years from acclaimed Australian post-punk outfit, the Moles

Twenty years is a long time. A lot can happen in music in that amount of time. Mark the date now and look back in 2036. What is a hair’s breadth in the eons of geological time ends up being an eternity in pop culture. Two decades have passed since the Moles’ 'Instinct', their last release of new material, making the prospect of 'Tonight’s Music' so inviting to fans of the Australian band. This first new full length comes on the heels of 'Flashback and Dream Sequences: The Story Of the Moles', which gathers up a massive trove of their early 1990’s pre-split work. This kind of psychedelic, chamber pop rock is chock full of songs and song ideas that come one after another as rapid as the writer can parse out the wheat from the chaff. That’s part of the excitement in it – and one of the key faults – finding those imperfect, yet zeitgeist representative kernels in the bottom of the carton. Often I would like to refer to moments on 'Tonight’s Music' as spellbinding (like 'Space Fever') and beguiling (try 'Highbury and Islington') but I cannot seem to quite get a handle on it. Something in Richard Davies’ Moles incarnation and persona reminds me of Bob Pollard and Guided By Voices. It’s the fast ride.It’s mercurial air that says you’re most definitely in the company of a songwriter. After ripping through 'Tonight’s Music' I don’t think I’d disagree that Davies is all that talented (I adore the ‘voice” on songs like 'Hand Painted Carved Imported Oil Painting' and softness of 'Are You Free Tomorrow?') but where I fall woefully short is in the area of sustained charm. I don’t feel the warmth that let's me fall back, eyes closed, and let go in a sort of a musical trust fall. Yeah, these songs feel good (blow out your Bose on 'Strange Summer' why don’t you?) but how their rough edges rub together are not exactly what I crave and so much of what we listen to is a matter of following and striking on the right craving. While often throughout the record’s robust song count I get lost in a whirl of melody and feel the jolt in his oft-silver tongue, I’m out at sea here.

Track Listing:-
1 Strange Summer
2 Head In the Speakers
3 Space Fever
4 Highbury and Islington
5 Needle and Thread
6 Slings and Arrows
7 Stray Dog
8 Red Carpet
9 Damien Lovelock
10 Kbo
11 Home for the Hobos
12 Are You Free Tomorrow
13 Dreamland
14 Beauty Queen of Watts
15 Chills
16 Out of Thin Air
17 Room Temperature
18 You're In My Band
19 Hand Painted Carved Imported Oil Painting
20 Shandy
21 Wear and Tear
22 Tonight's Music
23 Artificial Heart
24 Imperial Blues

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