Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Patrick Stolley
It really does seem like there's so much that's biting - or will be biting - in the songs of Night Moves, but we get distracted too easily. See, when the fangs and the hard grips, the darker moments, are surrounded by such a bounty of beauty, it's harder to see those issues. It's as if we're looking out a wonderfully manicured lawn, spreading across a multi-acre estate, with the irrigation system misting out water to an already healthy and well-cared for patch of green turf. There's not a brown leaf on anything, nor are any of the delicately pruned flowers wilting or in any kind of need.
Everything is kempt, sun-kissed and seems to be smiling a good one. If you were to get down on your hands and knees and lean in a little closer, however, you'd see that stems are being nibbled upon and leaves have been chewed through by all of the bugs that you'd expect to be there, taking their breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Nothing can ever be as nice as it looks or sounds. Everyone should learn this early. For every time that we walk through an impossibly dark night and sense that the things cracking and breaking beneath our own feet are coming from behind us - the cruel echoes bouncing off the trees in lurid ways - but have never been, there are still those chances that one day they will be. And it's for that which we prepare. For every time that love has felt right, we're braced for the bottom to fall right the fuck out and leave us hanging on by our fingernails, trying not to hit the bottom.
The Minneapolis quartet foils us, fools into this complacency, but you don't really hear us complaining much. Lead singer John Pelant makes us swoon the same way that Michael Nau of Cotton Jones does, singing to us in a slightly verbed out, back country sort of way, with patience and a mouth that sounds as if it might always be holding a toothpick or chewing stick in one of its corners. It's somewhat striking and undeniable. It's a voice that you'll let sing you anything, but luckily, the songs that Night Moves write are impossible to put down. We swoon and we sway to them and then Pelant hits us with a line like, "We always knew that we'd catch the very end of our own death," and we feel ourselves being pulled out of the spell, just a little.