Friday, July 6, 2012
Tears Of The Moosechaser - Songs For A Sinister Woman - "Dark Americana Dreams"
There is a whole range of Americana roots music and the genre runs the gamut from authentic to hybrid, from light to dark and everything in between. Tears of the Moosechaser, to me, swim in the avante garde / gothic or Southern gothic pool although they certainly can sound traditional as well. On Songs for a Sinister Woman they almost seem to have multiple personalities. "On the Hunt Again", "A Lonesome Fog", "Dog of Sadness" and "The Fool" feel almost more goth than Americana, maybe not musically but in temperament. "A Lonesome Fog" with it's sense of Halloween fun and creepy tone is like Oingo Boingo meets System of the Down meets The Hackensaw Boys. The feel of "The Fool" and "Dog of Sadness" could almost be a slow goth metal song ala Marilyn Manson that is if Manson spun tales in a slow gravelly drawl.
The other personality feels more traditionally Americana. "We're Really All Crazy" and "Budapest" are quite beautiful and probably the most mainstream songs lulling you into a lazy porch swing with lilting guitars, banjos and fiddles. The string solo on "We're Really All Crazy" is so purely sweet, you can feel the giddy love of couples slow dancing on worn wooden floors. I also really like the harmony being distorted as if the vocal was emanating from a depression era speaker. Similarly, "Hazy Bee Honeysuckle" feels very much like a barnyard dance of a song. It is wrapped in a haze of detuned sounds but, interestingly, at it's core (melodically) it could be a 50's Buddy Holly-esque ballad. I could actually hear an indie band like Girls covering this with great affect.
The avant garde personality is present on most of the other songs. In large part, they have an overall sad feel with a disturbing tension created by dissonant and disjointed sounds. This tonal quality reminds me of Jonny Greenwood's unnerving score on Paul Anderson's "There Will be Blood. If this tension was all the songs had to offer then Tears of Moosechaser would simply be all atmosphere. Thankfully, this tension, this anxiety they create is counterpoised with some lovely musical and vocal melodies in songs like "Cardsharps" (which I really love) and "Lost Among the Whales" which through the droning sounds has a dreamily surreal and whimsical feel along with some pretty melodies.
Tears of the Moosechaser is not my normal cup of tea. It feels more like a swig of Absinthe. It can transport you into turn of the century hallucinations. The funny thing is that parts of Songs for a Sinister Woman would seriously creep me out if I were to listen to them in the dark but other songs feel as comfortable as the warm embrace of a knitted afghan my grandmother made me. On one hand, the album is very diverse in tone and on the other hand, one could consider the songs in total, to not fit together. I guess I always opt for diversity more than anything else and I can live with the musical schizophrenia. If you are not one to venture away from your indie music or electronica or whatever you are into, take a chance, move outside your comfort zone and give Tears of the Moosechaser a spin. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Tears of the Moosechaser Official Site