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How can bands as excellent as Moose get passed over? High Ball Me was on the shelf for no less than a couple years before finding a label to release it, with four years passing since their last full-length. And guess what? It's another dazzling, fearless pop record. Following a mood-setting curveball intro, the driving "I Can't Get Enough of You" is the most straight-ahead thing they've done to date. Not simple by any means and still certifiably Moose, chase-scene bongos and an almost Bob Mould-like guitar line carry along, with a spaghetti western/Dick Dale-style second guitar to offset it. There are enough neat production flourishes to provide newly discovered nuances after many plays: handclaps here, a violin there, a well-placed shading of synth every now and then. The rich, soothing voice of Russell Yates is the icing on the cake, like Guy Chadwick without the bitterness. Yates and K.J. McKillop have reached dizzied heights as a songwriting duo here, stringing together a varied deck that hangs together as their easiest flowing 40 minutes. The country influences appear to be phased out in favor of more nods to the likes of Hazlewood and Nilsson, but Moose is smart enough to not be too obvious about it. Nurse Ratched's droll intonation of "medication time" at the onset of the record's intro is fitting -- High Ball Me is sweeter than a teaspoon of orange Triaminic. It's truly a backwards time in music when golden records like this have difficulty finding a way to be released.
|Label:||Le Grand Magistry|