Willy Moon - Here's Willy Moon

by Alexander Segall Rating:6 Release Date:2013-04-08

Here's Willy Moonis very much an experiment from the eponymous Kiwi, and one that doesn't always work. However, where he does manage to fuse a modern production sensibility with vintage lyrical tropes, he creates an aesthetic strong on groove, on vintage menace, and even a soupcon of sex appeal.

Opening with a trio of uninspiring but chart-friendly songs, heavily leaning on the poppier end of his palette, Moon's debut kicks into gear with 'What I Want', a yearning, scuzzy track with a viciously buzzing bass-and-guitar attack. Taking off from there, 'Fire' is an atmospheric track which sounds like he's fronting a swampy band, as opposed to a box of studio tricks. This, really, is where Moon's sound works best, toning down the electro-pop and working on the rock 'n' roll.

However, there are two exceptions - 'I Wanna Be Your Man' and 'Working for the Company'. The lynchpins of the album, the former is a short stab of rattling percussion and lascivious lyrics, while the latter is a brassy, funky strut. Both manage to marry subtle elements of Moon's skill behind the computer to live instruments (a small horn section on 'Working for the Company' brings a little 1920s jazz swagger to the tune).

'Shakin'', a cover of the Little Willie John blues tune, has a Stones-y vibe, Moon channelling his inner Jagger. It is far more successful a cover than his version of Scream' Jay Hawkins' 'I Put a Spell on You', which sounds far too much like Aloe Blacc and Amy Winehouse (via Mark Ronson) to really do such a classic justice.

That dichotomy sums up the album - finding the point at which reverence and influence becomes pastiche is a difficult one, it seems, from the scattering of good tunes here. Finishing on a frankly bewildering duo of poor pop song 'My Girl' and spy film soundtrack music on 'Murder Ballad', there's an EP of good material within this (admittedly very short) LP.

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