Outer Space Action (re-release) – Moon Boot Lover
Live Down Deep (re-release) – Moon Boot Lover
What is it about a band that attracts one to them? Does one harbor the
sounds he likes in his head and seek out bands that fulfill those
blueprints? Or does one not know what he wants – consciously or
unconsciously – until he hears it? If it's the former, do any bands
really do that perfectly? Maybe you want them to be just a
little bit different. Maybe you just tolerate them because they come
closest to nailing that sound.
To judge these two Moon Boot Lover re-releases by the players' future
accomplishments is a risky proposition, but one that is almost unavoidable.
Alan Evans drums on 1994's Outer Space Action, and his brother Neal
joins on organ for 1995's Live Down Deep. Shortly after recording one
more album with Moon Boot frontman Peter Prince – 1996's still unreleased
Catskill Martian Dogs – the pair split to form Soulive with Lettuce
guitarist Eric Krasno. Here, on Live Down Deep is a looser version of
some of the organ-trio grooves Soulive would explore on the Get Down
EP (1999). There actually is a fair amount to be gained from the comparison.
Aesthetically, Moon Boot and Soulive are a study in contrasts. Where Prince
goes onstage hopped out like a superhero, Soulive – at least for a period – stepped onto the platform looking fuckin' smooth in their tailored
suits. And while fashion is fashion, they way they carry themselves
translates to the music as well. Where Soulive is laid back, Moon Boot Lover
is hyperkinetic. It is in precisely those characteristics that both bands
find their strengths and weaknesses.
Moon Boot Lover are centered around Prince's Hendrix-esque blues/funk
freak-outs. It is unrestrained and more than a bit show-offy.
Prince's voice jumps all over the register (hitting all the right notes),
and his guitar work is certainly blazing. The effect is a bit overwhelming,
to say the least; a syncopated chaos. The middle section of "Carol Lynn",
for example (off Live Down Deep_, is unrelenting, and highly
appealing. It's easy to see how the Evans might've felt trapped musically,
though: there's little room to breathe. Even during the band's slower
soulful ballads (such as "Cool Wind" on Outer Space Action), the band
could benefit from playing about half the notes at half the speed.
As a former housemate once said: less isn't more, more is more. It's
not as grooving as Soulive but – hey – I always wanted something else out of