The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Tony Hillier

Planted Moxie Lyte Records/Planet

A quin­tet of in­ven­tive play­ers from Ire­land’s windswept west coast is putting a fresh new spin on the prover­bial craic. The prod­uct of youth­ful elan and jam­ming flair, Moxie mu­sic melds a range of el­e­ments with rich folk her­itage, a com­pellingly rhyth­mi­cal mod­ern sound that’s pre­dom­i­nantly acous­tic and free of ar­ti­fice.

Hav­ing an un­ortho­dox line-up — two tenor ban­joist/gui­tarists, a brace of but­ton ac­cor­dion­ists (one dou­bling on key­board) and a per­cus­sion­ist — in no way re­stricts the band’s pur­suit of mu­si­cal ad­ven­ture.

Each of the eight tracks on Moxie’s de­but al­bum con­tains changes in feel and flavour, fos­ter­ing abun­dant light and shade. The hard­driv­ing open­ing ti­tle track goes through a few phases dur­ing its 10 min­utes be­fore reach­ing a del­i­cate con­clu­sion. The em­pa­thy be­tween the in­stru­men­tal­ists and the thirst for ex­plo­ration is even more ev­i­dent in a funky cur­tain-closer, 1st De­gree, that’s un­der­pinned by dis­so­nant gui­tar chords, in­tri­cate banjo pick­ing and a mid-track key change. A con­trast­ing ex­tended work­out, Lib­erty, of­fers an evoca­tive jazzy dream­scape. A quasi-rock in­tro to Death of the Den is the pre­cur­sor to an up­beat ac­cor­dion groove.

Drake­man be­gins with neo­clas­si­cal pi­ano be­fore hit­ting rock dy­nam­ics. In an­other stag­gered en­try, Mul­lagh­more fea­tures acous­tic gui­tar strum, pi­ano and but­ton ac­cor­dion. In­cor­po­rat­ing a cou­ple of fa­mil­iar reels, Black Widow is closer to a con­ven­tional Ir­ish med­ley. In­no­va­tive back­beat is pro­vided by per­cus­sion that in­cludes ca­jon as kick drum, conga as snare and tra­di­tional bodhran.

It might take a cue from pro­gres­sive Amer­i­can bands such as Snarky Puppy and Punch Brothers and the Scot­tish trio Lau, but Moxie marches to its own beat.

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