If you are still ignorant of the band Mooner, do not try to pin that on me. I checked, and Mooner (as well as their associated acts) have been featured on the pages of this site seven times. Perhaps fewer than they deserve, but certainly enough to avoid any claims that I haven’t been trying to tell you. For my money, Mooner is one of Chicago’s finest bands. They continue to release great rock music again and again. So please, let this be the end of your ignorance and take a peek at The Alternate Universe Of Love.
The first few songs on the album provide a pretty good overview of the band’s sound throughout their career. Heavily influenced by Neil Young, Tom Petty, and of course Wilco; the fuzzed out guitar riffs and beautiful prose disguised as lyrics put their skills on full display. Mooner carries the torch of American rock music toward a finish line that is always getting moved further and further away.
Here’s a good way to figure out if a band is good or not: can they take two quick verses and a chorus that is one single line repeated and turn it into a beautiful piece of art? Simplicity is extremely difficult, and on “I Can’t Tell,” Mooner pulls it off in such an effortless way it almost makes me angry. To be clear, that anger is directed toward anyone who isn’t listening to this album today.
It seems crazy to compare a whole album to another whole album, but The Alternate Universe Of Love is very much thriving on the same vibe as Sky Blue Sky (Wilco’s most underrated album, in my opinion). There’s just something very understated and cool about the whole thing. It’s not like a song-for-song comparison, but overall the themes of love and disconnection and fear all stick out in similar ways.
My only nitpick of this record is that the song “The Sky” feels like it should be the ending. It has a gorgeous sound that really makes you feel like you’re floating if you close your eyes. It runs for six minutes, with the final third feeling more like you’re falling from the sky rather than rising. It’s a very interesting track, but I wish it was pushed down the track listing (personal preference, of course).
That would move “Do Not Be Afraid” and “Every Single Sun” up a bit. “Sun” has a similar feel to “The Sky,” so I understand why they chose for that one to close the album (despite my disagreement with that decision-sidenote: I kind of feel like Scott Aukerman now, resequencing the album to adhere to my personal taste). There is a lot of amazing guitar work on this tune, and throughout the album. In fact, if you dig on guitars, I can safely say you will really like this album.
One benefit to ending with “The Sun” is that you get this as the final line:
Every single moon praised in song
Will one day meet its final dawn
Slips into sleep Sunday night
Dreams of starlight and astral might
From the only one
The Alternate Universe Of Love was released today, October 9th, 2020. You can pick it up on Mooner’s Bandcamp site right now!
Mooner is: Lee Ketch – Vocals, guitar, bass, synth, cello
Steve Slagg – Piano, synth, wurlitzer, vocals
Nick Harris – Bass, synth, vocals
David Bedell – Drums, percussion
Kit Shields – Guitar, synth, vocals
John Gargiulo – Lap steel, guitar