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The Moore Brothers: Now Is the Time for Love

Jason MacNeil

The Moore Brothers

Now Is the Time for Love

Label: Plain Recordings
US Release Date: 2004-10-12
UK Release Date: 2004-10-25

The Moore Brothers were discovered on the side of the road, or so the story goes, by Pavement person Scott Kannberg. Due to the duo's harmonies and simple yet infectious approach to melodic pop by way of the singer-songwriter style, the Moore Brothers slowly but surely got the attention of London's New Musical Express among others, often being compared to Simon and Garfunkel, Cat Stevens, and the Monkees. This style, which consists of using a lone guitar and their voices, is refreshing but too often can be taken for granted today. The 14 tracks, though, are as tender and condensed as humanly possible. With a combined voice that seems to hit Simon's as well as a dreary Matthew Sweet, the brothers hit paydirt with a sparse and inviting title track. The harmonies are slightly off synch yet this makes it appealing. Fans of Big Star and Neil Finn might also tune into this effort with its dreamy chorus. "The teeth keep on crushing down," they sing as if they've perfected this from years of busking.

Slower and not as ethereal is the softer and hushed "Mint Mouth Motorhead", which could be mistaken again for Simon and Garfunkel circa "Sounds of Silence" or "Old Friends". It's so good, in fact, that you might believe it can't possibly be actual singers showing their chops. But that's where you would be wrong, for the smoothness of the song is such to cause goosebumps despite talking about "Motorhead music in my mouth". "Color and Kind" isn't as strong or dominating, and a faster, folksy tempo tries to move it into something that the Wondermints or Ric Menck might try as a homemade demo. "Unexpected Gusts of Wind" returns to Greg Moore and Thom Moore's biggest strengths -- crisp songs with crisper, haunting deliveries. "You sing so unaffected, I wanna be like you, I'd love to be you," one sings while the other then repeats the lyric a few seconds later, creating a lovely echo-like effect.

Often it appears the Moore Brothers are performing one 40-minute song with just subtle changes throughout. "Sorting Books" is another folksy affair that hits higher notes and brings to mind Michael Penn, Crowded House, the Beatles or the Odds. And it ends just as lovely as it commences. The first track that has the tandem seemingly going through the motions is the mediocre "The Wooden Tears", which has a certain wooden, pre-planned structure to it. The ensuing nugget is apologetic for the last miscue as "Falling" soars from the onset. Backed by an acoustic guitar strumming one winding folk melody after another, the Moore Brothers fall in line with little known Canadian act the Grapes of Wrath circa "All the Things I Wasn't". "Please don't take away this day / We're trying to help each other up but we're falling," they sing in a way that is perhaps the closest thing to sonic anesthesia you'll ever hear. The birds chirping and nature sounds kick off "April Mornings", chirping from start to finish in the background as again Thom and Greg conjure up vivid imagery and lovely word play.

You'll notice that there is a deer in front of the Moore Brothers on the album's cover. Although it takes a while to get around to it, you realize that the band's brand of pop is as innocent as said deer caught in the headlights. After the lovely and charming "Becky", the pair shift gears into a more urgent, country-ish "Fascination" that doesn't quite hit the mark. It's perfectly executed but just doesn't seem to hit the heights so many songs before it have. The last few songs include an average "Schwinn" resembling a haggard Everly Brothers in a country-like atmosphere. The Moore Brothers might not reach the heights of Paul and Art, but you pray they keep trying, dammit!

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