A. Graham &
the Moment Band


A. Graham & the Moment Band

"This Tyrant Is Free"
(UK import)



The official site

Andy. Graham

http://www.andygraham.org/

The label site

http://www.sonicunyon.com/




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You've got to admire Canada's Sonic Unyon Records. For almost a decade and half the Hamilton, Ontario-based indie label have been not only turning out quality music, but have also been challenging fans to expand their musical tastes. To quote Forest Gump, picking up something from Sonic Unyon "is kind of like a box of chocolates, you never know ...," you probably know the rest. The label's acclaimed back catalogue features indie rock, punk rock, space rock, experimental/ noise rock, emo, metal, math rock, post rock, garage rock, folk and even a little blues. Although there is often a surprise factor when plopping any new CD from the label into your stereo, you can be certain that whatever kind of music blasts out of the speakers is going to be good.

Sonic Unyon's 99th release is the debut full-length from Kansas City's A. Graham & the Moment Band. A. Graham is band leader Andy Graham. The Moment Band are a group of his friends who joined in to help flesh out his songs in the studio. The finished product sounds exactly like what it should - a group of buddies hanging out and playing some tunes. While some may not appreciate the looseness in the music, those who enjoy listening to something that doesn't take itself too seriously and isn't completely fake and over-produced are in for a treat.

Opening with the excellent "Glorious", Graham and company serve up 14 clever lo-fi tracks that could serve as the perfect soundtrack to any laid back summer evening. Mixing indie rock, psychedelic pop, alt-country, and a bit of Americana with Graham's off-kilter lyrics, for the most part This Tyrant is Free is a very fun listen. While it does wear a little thin at times, songs such as "Blurred Back", "Motorcycle Shades", and the hilarious "Monkey Chickens" help cement This Tyrant is Free as a solid record.

Without doubt the album's shining moment is "Glorious". A fantastic pop song that instantly gets stuck in your head, it could easily be described using any one of the adjectives ("glorious, triumphant, optimistic, transcendent") that Graham and his slightly out-of-tune, make-shift choir sing during the chorus. The track is rounded out wonderfully by Nate Hofer's brilliant pedal steel guitar and a round of hand claps. If the group can somehow manage to sustain the magic of "Glorious" for an entire recording they'll find themselves being labelled as critic's darlings in no time.

How much you enjoy this album is going to depend entirely on what kind of mind-frame you approach it with. If you're expecting tight, slick radio singles you're probably going to be pretty disappointed. However, if you're just looking for something to serve as a soundtrack for whatever good time you've got brewing then you'll find yourself humming along to Graham's witty tales in no time.
review by shawn
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