The Romanovs

...and the Moon Was Hungry...

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OK, pay attention. The bulk (seven tracks) of this album was originally released back in 2002 as a solo Morgan Kibby album, Beggar's Alchemy. Live work with Dan Rosa and Paul Wiancko, among others then encouraged her revisiting the album, adding four new songs ("Kiss Is in the Chemicals" and "China Shop" were new studio recordings, "I Shot the Monster" and "Sonnet" were live), and the ensuing package, credited to Kibby, emerged as ...and the Moon Was Hungry in 2005. Two years layer, however, further shifts in lineup and approach saw the whole thing remixed, remastered, and overdubbed, and then released for a third time under the band name the Romanovs. And if it's been left alone since then, that's because it really is difficult to improve upon such perfection. Kibby's voice should be the focus of ...and the Moon Was Hungry, and it usually is. A dynamic instrument in its own right, redolent of Kate Bush in its disregard for traditional key and melody, Kibby elucidates her lyrics as though every word is the most important thing in the room. Yet the soundtrack behind her fights every step of the way for your attention. Overdubbed for the occasion, fresh percussion, cello, violin, piano, and vocals bring new multilayered beauties into view, while two further new numbers, "Fever Pitch" and "Mr. Okada" push the original set's highlights for further glory. Of those highlights, the insistent crunch and shuffle of "The King" remains perhaps Kibby's greatest accomplishment, an epic thundering that could have thrown the kitchen sink into the mix if only there had been room; contrast that with the sweet "La Mer Enchante," a duet for piano and electronics reminiscent of the sweeter side of Iris Aneas; or the keening anguish of "I Shot the Monster," a fiery rampage that Kibby presages by inviting the audience to "crawl on-stage with me." An album of startling (and not always pleasantly so, witness "Sonnet") moods and moments, ...and the Moon Was Hungry is classical, weird, electronic, experimental, and never less than relentlessly brilliant. And it only took five years to perfect.

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