Pandemonio – Moonshine Booze (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

It is usual to glance through the list of bands influences and inspirations and see the same worn out and over-cooked role-call of artists, a list that usually has more to do with what a band would like to sound like than the music that they make. It is wonderfully refreshing, therefore, to come across a band that cites, “Federico Fellini, Buster Keaton, Salvador Dali, Jack Nicholson, Quentin Tarantino, and rivers of Montepulciano red wine,” as the people and things that have driven their creative processes. 

Such a list is revealing, to say the least. It tells you that the band understand that creativity and inspiration are where you find it. It tells you that music is driven by none musical forces too. It tells you that the band understands the theatrical and filmic quality of music. It tells you that they aren’t bothered about following musical paths well-trodden. It tells you that this is a band that you should pay attention too. Moonshine Booze is just such a band.

Moonshine Booze‘s best feature their ability to blend familiar sonic threads into strange shapes. On paper at least, they make music out of strands of growling blues and underground rock and roll, but what you end up with is something much more wonderfully odd than the musical conclusions that such entanglements usually produce.

Too Many Questions proves that they can do straight(ish) rock and roll with the best of them but largely the band’s charms lie in their more unique creations. The Tide is a stomping, circus-side show anthem, Ponderosa sees them blend spaghetti western grooves with crazed European folk, a sort of Tex-Mex meets Iberian-Balkan boogie…if you can imagine such a thing… and Crazy Again sounds like Gogol Bordello re-imagined as a haunted blues band.

Right The Ship Jack is a gnarly, garage rock growler tempered with sweet soul sonics and Little Love is a clattering, crunching rock thumper which drives on an almost mechanical rhythm decorated with rockabilly shards of guitar and the echoes of mariachi melodics looming large.

It’s rock and roll but not as we know it. It crosses genres and geography, sounds and styles, times and sonic tides by following its own lead and not worrying about fads, fashions or playing to the gallery. And in doing so Moonshine Booze create their own fashion, their own scene, their own sound, and that is something very unexpected in this very confirmative, to- the-line, day and age.

Conclusion: Mad, bad and wonderful to behold!

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