If the 2016 This Was The End debut was Greg Gulbranson’s (aka Moonguys) soirée with full band convictions, then this sophomore appears to typify the moment where maturity and introspection may have aroused his more astute awareness that his most pertinent capabilities may actually lie in increased musical sparsity.
As such this is Moonguys in a more crucial stripped down format. Initially the listener can revel in the wonderful ‘accompaniments’ seen in the closing double salvo of the Beirut style plinking indie folk of Top Of The List and the jangly Bright Eyes Americana of Before Eighth Grade.
The above closure of the album perfectly augments ‘the other half of the album’ that is completed with the slight country inflected riffs and Clean Spill style vocal delivery of Get A Loan, In The Darkness and Tired of Myself. These tracks convey the feint gust of the melancholy that accompanies life’s general travails, rather than genuine malaise. As such it manages to stay downtrodden pretty rather than truly sombre.
The ‘other half’ of the album is imbued with an even greater level of excellence. Here the albums true standout Shingles (see above), In Two Weeks Time, The Weekend (see below), Someone Else and lead single, Every Decision act as a vehicle for Gulbranson to showcase his burnished, beautifully controlled, washed out vocals that are two parts Curt Kiser (Carriers) and the other part Ben Bridewell (Band of Horses). The fact that each note tends to fall somewhere within the cracks presented by the sparse, isolated jangled riffs, merely accentuates the overall listening experience.
The Moonguys sound is perhaps never destined to court widespread public adoration as the quirk free sound and ‘grower’ essence of the sound might never appeal to much of the younger click happy streaming audience. However, for those that still make time to appreciate genuine beauty, this album genuinely excels on so many levels.