Moonraker – The Forest

In this cursed golden age of music availability, it’s not hard to find a band or record that suits your taste. I feel like I’m always sifting through countless Bandcamp pages of stuff that’s ok, but never really gets me to stick with it after a couple listens. Part of this problem is that you can listen to basically any band on earth whenever you want to, often without having to pay any extra money. It’s a mixed blessing, because even though you can find a new band every day that sounds like your favorite music, if anything it becomes more challenging to find something that really grabs you. Then sometimes you get lucky, and Jerry sends you a link to review the new Moonraker record.

Moonraker describe themselves as “The Michael Jordan of baseball of punk rock”. It’s not a very useful descriptor, but I like it, so I’ve decided to include it here. Stylistically, I would say Moonraker are a blend of UK bands Reverse and Stay Clean Jolene, crossed with Banner Pilot. I also hear some 1995 throwback SoCal punk, a la Rhythm Collision. Their most redeemable quality, however, is that they can really write a fucking hook. This collection of songs have some huge choruses, and take plenty of interesting turns. Some bands have that extra gear where they can turn a decent song into an excellent one with a special little bridge or something, and Moonraker definitely have that ability. 

The subject matter seems to mostly be of a dark, personal nature, but the lyrics are well written and only add to the quality of the songs. I had intended to reference specific tracks here, but I’m writing this at work and cannot stretch the illusion of doing my actual job any thinner than it already is. Alas, Upstarter is a budget operation and we are required to maintain day jobs. Listen to the entire thing, I won’t spoil it for you.

I found time to listen to this all the way through pretty much every day during a week where I’m working a ton, have young children, a new Superchunk record that I enjoy, and am also studying up for the Jawbreaker/Jawbox show this Sunday. It’s that good. If you like catchy punk rock, I can’t imagine how you won’t be pumped when you hear this.

–Zach Akenson

Tracks:
Incendium
My First Rodeo
Mouth Full of Rust
Vanishing Act
The Great Glass Elevator
Autumn
Crickets
Fogdancing
I Really Wanted To
In Confidence
The Better Man
Soot

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