The Mooncrikets have a long and raucous history in Fort Wayne, and it’s no doubt that many whatzup readers have partied with members of this band long into the night. They recently took a break from their bacchanalian celebrations to record Another Failed Experiment, their third album.
The festivities kick off with an awe-struck wow! in the form of “Ashamed,” a song seemingly recorded at midnight and reveling in hushed tones that ignite into a fury of self-loathing. “The Great Divide” likewise starts with mellow acoustic guitars, adding harmonica and rich vocal harmonies (led by Mark Burris) on the verse and a gentle melody before stomping into overdrive with big drums and sizzling guitars for a brief romp before returning to the calm. The funky gospel rock of “Bowl Full of Cheerios” opens with the soulful vocals of Dee Wyatt before bassist Richard Schwartz takes a turn at the mic, adding nice variety to the sound of this mover and shaker. “Markerstone,” is also written by Schwartz, and, as with most things done by us bass players, it is just a bit off the beaten path, but only so much that it adds to the appeal with two-part vocal harmonies in the verse and intriguing pacing. The closing track, “Used to Care,” features a nice chord progression and transparent strumming that is quite appropriate for this sadly humorous country song.
Although “Nelson Rockefeller” mentions the bombing of the World Trade Center, it was written before the tragic events of 9/11 and refers to the events of the first bombing. As such, it adds to the somber opening tone and lyrics of “I don’t want to die like Elvis.” As the song is about death and not wanting to go out in a sordid tabloid fashion, the guitars are given a very thin, lifeless tone during the portions where the song kicks into high gear, lending an eerie edge and urgency. Immediately following is “Attitude,” a song whose high point are lyrics like “Sometimes you’re the man who works late so he can bang the cleaning lady” and “You’ve got a diamond mind / and a cubic zirconium heart,” all held together perfectly by drummer Justin Gillespie. “This Town” is a fun bar sing-along tune, sporting plucky lines like “You can’t get drunk in this town” and “You can’t get stoned in this town,” backed by mandolin, a cheery melody and backing vocals that sound like boisterous muppets. Dedicated to a victim of cancer and the Supreme Court, “Pass Me A Joint” bears a touching melody, extremely nice vocal harmonies and lines such as “I don’t understand how you can condemn something you’ve never tried.” Although I once had a professor who would have pounced upon such lyrics as being based on laughably faulty logic, I don’t suppose Mr. Huff spends his evenings in smoky bars listening to original music.
Once again Monastic Chambers has excelled in creating a fully professional sound experience. Each song is clear as a bell, allowing you to enjoy the many melodic guitar solos by Devron Conroy, the tight rhythm section and Burris’ snappy vocals. Hop on over to your local Wooden Nickel for a taste of this legendary Fort Wayne favorite.
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