The Moore Brothers


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On their fifth album, Greg and Thom Moore sound like some sort of bizarre-world version of Crosby, Stills & Nash; the songs may be willfully eccentric, but the beautifully rendered harmonies, subtly interwoven guitar work, and concise, unobtrusive rhythm section recall the glory days of California soft rock, though the vibe isn't mellow so much as it's hazy and a bit buzzed, though not unpleasantly so. After a few spins of Aptos, it becomes evident that trying to figure out what the Moore Brothers are singing about is more trouble than it's worth (a tune that seems to be about some hipster gal who plays the drums when she isn't feeling alienated is called "Iraq," which makes about as much sense as anything else on this album), but if the literal meaning is elusive at best, the surreal word puzzles sound lovely as they float by, and Greg and Thom's harmonies are expert enough that they could make the phone book sound lyrical (perhaps they'll give that a try one of these days). The Moore Brothers trade off on writing credits on this set (Greg wrote the even-numbered tunes, Thom the odd) and they have an equally strong hand way with a melody that catches the ear even when it's just a bit bent, and while their guitar work is well short of flashy, it's strong and works like a charm in this context, while bassist Jun Ohnuki and drummer Neal Morgan's accompaniment is similarly tasteful and well-crafted. If Aptos had been released by Elektra in 1970, it would be praised today as some lost nugget of acid-damaged folk-rock, and while its aspirations seem to go a bit deeper than that, if that sounds like your idea of a good time, you and the Moore Brothers should get along fine. Points added for the excellent cover artwork from cartoonist William Stout.

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