If The National broke up right after Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers, and Matt Berninger started a solo career, Lunagraphy by The Main Chance is the kind of record he’d make. The first half of it anyway. As soon as I pushed play on the first track I couldn’t stop thinking about how much Will Gosner’s voice reminded me of the frontman for one of the most popular indie rock bands in the world. After a couple tracks I settled in and found Lunagraphy to be a very well-written and performed album from start to finish.
Released back in April, Gosner’s songs guide us through growing up, moving on, and pushing off. I didn’t even mind the slight christian overtones of some of the lyrics. They’re few and far between, but I picked up on it-maybe those that aren’t so secular won’t notice. I do like the message that the album puts out, though, so I can’t fault him there.
I especially like a couple lines in the opening track, “I know that in order to engage with another/you have to be patient, forgetful of all pain, and brave/but I’m none of those things.” Sung in a deep baritone, it’s a very melancholy tune that also includes the lines “In my young life I’ve known loneliness more than love, if love I’ve known at all.”
An unexpected nod to Red Hot Chili Peppers kicks off the song “All The Leaving.” I think it was here that I really decided that I dig Lunagraphy. It’s not a direct ripoff, just a little opening guitar riff that pays homage, intentional or not, to the very fine guitarist John Frusciante. Gosner even gets a little Kiedis in his voice at the end of a few lines.
At times the album feels like it’s purely a solo record, but the band does show up at some necessary times to add a little impact or sparkle. John Paul Thompson, who plays electric guitar on the record as well as co-produced with Gosner, gets the most opportunity to shine. The outro of “How I Used To Think About You” is a real thing of beauty.
Gosner and most of the musicians credited on Lunagraphy also play in the Chicago band Lakesigns. They aren’t complete opposites-Lakesigns use band arrangement a bit more liberally, but if you like one I’m sure you’d like the other.
You can pick up a copy of Lunagraphy, physical or digital, on The Main Chance’s Bandcamp page for either $10 or $7 depending on the format.