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Published: 2001/09/19
by Stefan Low

Back On Earth – Moon Boot Lover

The first time I saw Moon Boot Lover was on television, strangely enough.
They were on some local public special featuring Maine bands. They were
wearing moon boots, of course, and I could tell whatever was coming out of
my tiny TV speaker had little or nothing to do with what the band was
playing. I liked the boots, though, and didn’t think much more about them
until this CD crossed my desk.
I have no idea if they are considered a Maine band anymore. This CD was
recorded in Boston, Philadelphia and Troy, New York, most likely between the
bands live dates. This release features 4th Edition Crew Members Jon Hawes
on bass and vocals and Andy Herrick on drums in addition to Moon Boot’s
central figure, Peter Prince. Prince writes and sings the songs, illustrates
the CD with pulp cartoon images, and plays guitar.
Despite the insert photo of Prince playing a flying V and screaming into a
mic, his best moments on this CD come when he’s playing acoustic guitar.
Tracks seven and eight, The Gift and Changed Your Mind,
stopped me in my tracks and exploded the thought of MBL being just a rock
trio. I like a hard-rocking trio as much as the next guy, but the depth
these songs opened up – in feeling, sound and songwriting – really hooked
into me. They made me like the straight-ahead rockers more.
At first listen I liked the ideas behind the electric cuts Ali and
Bag a Day Habit more than their actual execution – the first an
homage to the great boxer, the second an obvious junkie lament – but after
donning the proper footwear they both made a lot more sense… Something
about hearing the whole of the CD, getting the whole picture, the parts make
more sense. Blame Myself is a dead-on rocker screaming out the pain
of divorce from a child’s perspective. Oh, there’s enough talk-box
fuzz-wah-vocal in the break to ease any worry of bleeding-heart
sentimentalism here… don’t worry.
Peter Prince is a talented vocalist. His voice reaches high up into the
rubber-band range of funky R&B – he could cover Hot Fudge’s You Sexy
Thing without straining himself, you can just hear it – but it tones
down nicely on the acoustic numbers. He has not forgotten what melody is; he
can write and sing one. Changed Your Mind sounds almost like a lost
Marvin Gaye track, a sweet soulful groove moving under Prince’s effortless
The depth and variety this CD showcases makes it hard to pigeonhole Moon
Boot Lover. I suspect they would be more consistently uptempo live, but I am
guessing. Pigeonholes are for the birds, anyway, and I am glad to have had
the chance to listen to this music. I’m going to be listening to this one on
the way to see Oysterhead in November. Last word? Theirs. The hidden track
that follows Autumn Falls closes the CD with a hint of their live
groove ferocity, and it’s great. Where is the rest of that damned track? Moon
Bootlegs, anyone?

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