Review: Moon Hooch explores ‘Life on Other Planets’

Moon Hooch’s “Life on Other Planets,” via Cave Music was released on Jan. 10, 2019.

New York sax-and-percussion trio Moon Hooch is back with a new album, “Life on Other Planets,” via Cave Music.

This band is a little out of my wheelhouse … but then, they might be a little out of everybody’s wheelhouse, but in a really cool way. There are many things that make Moon Hooch unique – for one, they are a trio formed by two saxophones and drums only. They’re basically all instrumental. The songs are mostly improvised, and the album is a series of one-take performances, live in the studio.

The genesis for each song came mostly from soundchecks. Then they would continue to tweak in subsequent soundchecks, and then try the songs out onstage. This evolved from the band’s beginnings, busking on the streets of New York, often playing in subway platforms. The NYPD had to ban them from locations, because the crowds couldn’t be controlled due to the excessive dancing that would break out. 

The sounds certainly have a predominant jazz influence, but are uptempo in nature, and blend styles of R&B, techno, EDM and funk. “Candlelight,” as an example, is a firestorm of genres, swirling in an avalanche of jam that feels like it could go off the rails at any second … but doesn’t. 

Other favorites – leadoff track “Nonphysical” comes in quickly with a catchy melody that gets your toes tapping — you know you’re in for something fresh right off the bat. “Old Frenchman” once again kicks off with a catchy melody, with an accompanying solo wrapped around it. I favor the tracks with clear, distinct melodies thematically and relentlessly coming at you with strong beats. Closing track “#4 Solo” swirls the album to a raucous conclusion. 

If you’re looking to step out from your boundaries and find something different that will be sure to get your flood blowing, take a chance on “Life on Other Planets” by Moon Hooch.  

— Jon Siembieda

Moon Hooch
‘Life on Other Planets’
Jan. 10, 2020
Label: Cave Music

About Jon Siembieda

Writer Jon Siembieda plays guitar in the Southern California-based touring rock 'n' roll band Hunter & The Dirty Jacks. He is an avid concertgoer and album collector. His top five favorite bands are The Rolling Stones, Black Crowes, Faces, Mother Hips and Chris Robinson Brotherhood.

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