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Published: 2016/06/17
by Larson Sutton

Moon Hooch
Red Sky

The saxophone, a once-dignified focal point of popular music- from John Coltrane in the Jazz era and Maceo Parker with James Brown to Springsteen’s big man Clarence Clemons- suffered the misfortune of winding up in the hands of Rob Lowe’s fictitious character and equally fictitious performance in St. Elmo’s Fire. There have been outsiders who have since made the effort to rescue the horn from this enduringly sticky cliché of the neon 1980s, but for every inch back to a reputation as an instrument of cool made by Dana Colley (Morphine) or Karl Denson, it’s recoiled a mile in the curls of Kenny G. So, before the first notes of Red Sky come honking out, let us give thanks that a band such as Moon Hooch even exists. With a concerted and, at times, geometric assault Moon Hooch has concocted a kind of Mondrian as music. It’s free-spinning and angular, primary and advanced, black and white and colorful, boldly defying one to dance and not dance at the same time, compelled by liberated percussion and a duo of mad max sax. “Psychotubes” screeching into the void or kinetic new wave symphony “Booty House,” by title alone the 13 cuts convey and evoke a starter kit of implications confirmed by the barrage of syncopated orchestration and atonal wailing within. To describe this trio as a lovechild of Pharaoh Sanders and Oingo Boingo gets closer to the right words, but only a little. Interstellar intoxicants, indeed.

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