I have to admit that I have set myself a bit of a challenge here. I heard all of the gig in question but saw precious little of it, as it took place in an extremely compact area in the front room of the Nursery Tavern.
The Moonbears’ followers all came mob-handed to see them perform and I had to jot down a few notes whilst peering over quite a few shoulders so this will be a tad difficult to write up but hey, I relish such challenges so here goes.
Harrison and Dunkley who opened proceedings on said evening, describe themselves on their Bandcamp page as “minimalist”, “experimental”, “sometimes sharp” “sometimes sweet” and that they make “music to dance to.”
The first four of these descriptions are immediately apparent. There wasn’t enough room for dancing alas and besides, the gentlemen in question make music they I would prefer to lounge in a hammock to on a midsummers evening.
Their sound reminded me of many, for want of a better phrase, proto-ambient records – think the Eno & Cluster collaboration, what Mike Oldfield might sound like had he used a music box, the first Durutti Column LP to the post-rock of the likes of Tortoise and La Bradford. They were joined for some of the set by local harmonica wiz Bryan Lea Bradford, as a result of which, the likes of Sonny Boy Williamson and Little Walter were throw into the mix as well.
Check out their Bandcamp page for more dreamy ambience as I intend to do one Sunday morning or on one very late night in the not too distant future.
Those who follow me on that thing called social media will know that I have long history with Moonbears both musical and personal. No band form this neck of the woods encapsulates sophisticated pop as well as the Moonbears did on their 2013 album “The Wow Signal” and to an even greater extent on “Let’s Get Nice With The Moonbears” which was my favourite LP of 2016 (not just by a Coventry band but by any band from anywhere in the world).
As usual, the audience were treated to the usual melting pot of sounds from these four extraordinary individuals. If one were to cross XTC with Steely Dan with small helpings of Hatfield and The North, then one might get a very rough idea of the Moonbears sound.
On the night, we had selections form the aforementioned “Let’s Get Nice..” LP and a little taster of their forthcoming double LP. I’m of the opinion that in most double albums there is a better single LP just itching to get out, but I think that if any band from around these parts can pull off such a feat, they can.
Given their name, their music sounds like it ought to come from another planet and a planet on which I for one, would love to take up permanent residence.
Written by Carl Aylott
Image courtesy of Chrissy McLaughlin