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.