Music

The Moles Return With Powerful, Brilliant New LP, 'Code Word' and New Single "Moon in the Daytime" (premiere)

Jedd Beaudoin

One of the most inventive bands to emerge from Australia in the 1990s, the Moles get a new lease on life in 2018 with various lineups, searing new tunes destined for your autumn/winter playlists.

Code Word is the new double LP from the Moles. The record arrives 19 October via Super Secret Records and may be pre-ordered here. The record is the band's first 2016's Tonight's Music. This time out, band leader Richard Davies assembled multiple versions of the band from a variety of locations including Detroit, New York City, Austin, Texas, Mexico City, Easthampton, and Somerville. The result is a collection that's right in tune with classic Moles sounds while carrying the group right to the edge of 2019.

The opening "Moon in the Daytime" is a rollicking pop-rock effort that imagines a hybrid of the Byrds and Guided By Voices (Davies collaborated with GBV's Robert Pollard in 2009 under the moniker Cosmos.) Meanwhile, "Delicate" continues the psych/lo-fi/psychedelic aesthetic with a driving enthusiasm that imagines the Who having gone punk circa 1976 rather than evolving into an increasingly reflective and mature unit. "Cheaper to Keep Her" could be an obscure single by some forgotten UK act in the flavor of the Bevis Frond. Of course, those are touchstones, and the record is nothing less than what stalwarts would expect from the Moles: A full-on aural assault that's tuneful, adventurous and filled with wild, wild imaginings.

In case anyone doubted Davies and his roots, a spot-on cover of Slade's "Gubuy T' Jane" reminds us that Noddy Holder and friends were as instrumental to glams rise as Bowie, Bolan or Sparks. You can hear further evidence of Davies' particular genius in the trippy "Ancestors", the delightfully strange "After May" and the titular piece which, once more, makes a case for further exploration of the missing links between indie and progressive rock.

Formed in Sydney, Australia in 1990, the group released an EP and one full-length, moving to New York, London, before unraveling in 1993. One more LP followed before Davies put the band to bed in 1996, only to reignite the flames of inspiration some 22 years after the debut utterance.

In the end, Code Word is a perfect reminder that Davies and the Moles (regardless of iteration) are as innovative as they are familiar, as sweet as they can be biting, as tuneful as they can be filled with abandon. This collection seems destined to garner the Moles a new group of devoted followers and pique the interest of those who have been there from the start.

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Jedd Beaudoin
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