It seems odd to be sitting here looking out of the window at the cold rain washing away the recent snow, viewing the grey skies through a row of leafless trees and nudging the heating thermostat ever higher whilst listening to music which evokes images of warmer climes and sun-kissed beaches.
But that is the power of music; it is transportive and can take you to other places and times. It is a magic trick made of sonic components, a bridge between worlds both real and imagined, a cool conjuring trick forged from sound and sentiment rather than the usual stealth and sleight of hand. At least it is in the hands of the right musicians.
Thankfully, Moonlight Rhythm Society are precisely the right musicians to be able to pull off such a neat trick. Their blends of brass washes, soulful guitar licks and deft beats, not to mention the easy and accessible vocals, are the perfect building blocks to build the required image. The rhythms sway and swing in the warm night air; it is groovesome, full of soul-fire and infectious but never intrusive or dominant.
That gets to the heart of what is so lush about their music. It is the sound of a band of players totally on their game, able to add edifying effects and marvellous musical motifs, but never at the expense of the finished song. The ability to walk a line between the ornate and the understated sets them apart from the pack. You are clearly in the hands of players who could dazzle and show off, but the musical train required to get to such as place is also the education that makes them realise the truth of playing music. It. Isn’t. About. You!
I mean that any player worth their salt (and here is a band that could open a condiments company on that basis) also understands that they are there to serve the song. It isn’t their ability to stand out that makes things work. Quite the opposite. It is their skill at working as a team, complimenting each other playing, and not hogging the light, be it lime or any different colour. It is the art of playing in a band. It might sound obvious, but so many bands are dazzled by their ego that it happens less often than you think.
But Moonlight Rhythm Society are a masterclass in putting the song above all things. If you don’t believe me, play Tampico Shuffle again…and again…. until you get just what playing in a band is all about.