“I’m a Ghost”, the opening for the new 12 track Adios I’m a Ghost album from The Moondoggies, begins with 23 seconds of thick vocal harmony that is true to folk with its soothing and laid back nature. However, this is merely a false sense of security. With crashing drums from Carl Dahlen, and lively guitar riffs from Jon Potrello, The Moondoggies dive into the track “Red Eye”. Throughout this track, guitarist, Jon Potrello, adds tasteful guitar riffs and a lively solo that leaves listeners wanting more.
With the next track, “Annie Turn Out the Lights”, I am surprised by how diverse The Moondoggies sound from one song to the next. In “Red Eye” they sound like a modern folk-rock band, yet in “Annie, Turn out the Lights” they sound as if they are throwing back to “Guinevere” and “Almost Cut My Hair” from Crosby, Stills, and Nash, combined with Nirvana influenced guitar parts.
The Moondoggies’ diversity in Adios I’m a Ghost is extremely refreshing. In “Pride”, The Moondoggies’ lead vocalist, Kevin Murphy, sounds as if he came straight out of Bruce Springsteen’s entirely acoustic 1982 Nebraska album. “Pride” is one track that stays with you long after the first listen and is filled with intimate finger-style guitar, folk harmonies, and lead vocals as he sings:
Well she was my lover and I held her tight,
held you tight, almost every night,
And you went to thinking about moving back home,
stuck around so you could be alone,
But it’s your pride love; it’s my pride boy.
The winter months came and the chill set in,
Spent a northwest winter wonderin’ how you been,
but it’s my pride love; it’s your pride boy.
“Pride,” is hauntingly beautiful with its folk harmonies and its storytelling nature that falls in the lines of traditional folk. Even when the track fades away, it leaves you with an incomplete and uneasy feeling that mirrors the whole track. However, “A Lot to Give”, rolls around and lulls us into a sense of security as the track throws back to another side of the 60’s driven by pot, magic mushrooms, and LSD with multiple Pink Floyd style feel changes and a guitar solo that sounds as if it was inspired by the likes of Jefferson Airplane. In “A Lot to Give” it is easy to lose yourself in the Moondoggies’ beautiful and thick three piece harmonies and the atmosphere that the Moondoggies’ so successfully create. Like a few of the tracks on this album, this song could have easily been written during the 60’s — that is how convincingly true to the era it is.
Adios I’m a Ghost from the Moondoggies is modern northwest Seattle indie folk combined with all of the folk sounds we know and love — Springsteen, Jefferson Airplane, Pink Floyd, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and CCR — all rolled into one beautiful package. This album is a joy to listen to and is one of the best folk albums of 2013 so far. I’m proudly putting it right up next to the Helplessness Blues record from 2011 sitting on my shelf.
Adios, I’m a Ghost is out now on Hardy Art. Above photo by Hilary Harris.