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Snow Caps

Moonbreak

(Edible Onion; US: 15 Feb 2011; UK: Import)

Andrew Keller plays guitar in the band Hermit Thrushes, but in his solo project, Snow Caps, he records every single note and word himself. Clocking in at a brief 27 minutes, Moonbreak nonetheless feels like a full-bodied album. Keller has a knack for strong melodies, and he gets right to the point and gets out before any one song wears out its welcome. This makes the album seem full of ideas despite most of its tracks coming in under the three-minute mark.


The first two songs set the template for the rest of the record. Opening instrumental “Beauty and the Beauty” starts with a simple, catchy, acoustic guitar line. Then a second guitar enters, harmonizing with the first, followed by a third introducing a new melody. Then, yet another guitar, this time with a bass line. By the middle of the song, there’s a good half-dozen guitars going, along with claps and fingers snaps, to make a joyous, happy chorus of instruments. Second song “Hope and Silence” is a quiet pop song with a simple acoustic arrangement under Keller’s sweet, quiet voice and a lovely melody. Moonbreak continues on in this fashion, more or less alternating between catchy acoustic pop songs and short, slightly experimental instrumentals. The prevailing sounds of the album are Keller’s guitar and his voice, but he throws in the occasional percussion part and actual bass line. Most intriguingly, a couple of songs—“Roses” and the album-closing “Moldy Bread”—employ a hurdy-gurdy to great effect.Moonbreak is such a good effort it makes you think that, perhaps, more musicians should try this low-key bedroom pop thing.

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