Over a journey spanning nearly a quarter-century, moe. has let their knack for dynamic, democratic improvisation influence nearly every facet of the band's existence.
In concert, they stretch the boundaries of their source material into intricate, set-long suites where distinct songs seamlessly segue into one another in exhilarating fashion.
In the studio, their eclectic, wide-ranging sensibilities manifest in playful, varied albums that spotlight both their fluid musicianship and their incisive, hook-laden songwriting.
Available May 27, 2014 on Sugar Hill Records, moe.'s new album No Guts, No Glory finds moe. at their most inventive and resilient.
The album's eleven songs (fourteen on the deluxe CD, digital, and double vinyl editions, and features artwork by Emek) took a winding path into existence. "These songs were written with an acoustic album in mind," says guitarist and vocalist Chuck Garvey. When that original intention fell victim to logistical hurdles, Garvey says, "we ended up making a whole different thing."
That "different thing" turned out to be a vibrant collaboration with longtime moe. ally Dave Aron. Aron has distinguished himself over the past twenty years as a go-to hip-hop engineer and producer, facilitating albums by Snoop Dogg, Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre, and many others. "But he's also worked with Prince and U2," moe. drummer Vinnie Amico explains. "Hip-hop is where he carved his niche, but he's got an ear for rock."
The acoustic foundation of No Guts, No Glory adds a buoyancy and richness to the album's songs and performances, which are put across with an energetic, spontaneous feel true to moe.'s well-earned reputation as as a thrilling live band. "Dave basically wanted to emulate a show," says percussionist Jim Loughlin. "He was focused on the vibe." Acoustic instrumentation, from mandolin to vibes, is woven into the album's multi-textured fabric, enhancing songs as diverse as the expansive psychedelia of "Silver Sun," the churning, rootsy "Annihilation Blues," and the languid, loungey "Same Old Story."
"Looking back," reflects guitarist and vocalist Al Schnier, "the thing I was most surprised about was just how easy this record was to make. After all the initial setbacks, once we got down to it, everything just seemed to take shape, and it came out great. I doubt that it would come out that way without Dave on board."
"Basically," concludes bassist and vocalist Rob Derhak, "everything we started out to do turned into completely something else. An album that was supposed to be an acoustic based album recorded in a barn turned into a hard rock album recorded in Connecticut with a hip-hop producer. Go figure. Typical moe."
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