ep review ~ 'time' ~ mere moths

Band Name: Mere Moths
Genre: Acoustic-Indie
For Fans Of: Richard Ashcroft, Sixto Rodriguez, Ray LaMontagne
Location: Dromore

Following up from the hazy softness of debut solo release 'You Grew Up', this latest effort from Dromore native Patrick Wright see's his acoustic project emerge from it's awkward teenage years into a comfortable new maturity. His 'rock-band' skin now completely shed, this was always going to be a defining moment for an act gathering substantial pace over the last two years. Could he keep the momentum going? Taylor Johnson had a listen...

While Encore NI have been quick to praise recent releases from the Mere Moths camp, the feeling that each of these recordings have been more of a stepping stone towards a more personal style has been evident.  'Time' takes this process one step further, as Wright's voice quivers become more and more recognisable, each melody more authentic and we start to see more of the enigmatic teenager behind the guitar. That said, the title track which opens the EP is a very brave choice indeed.

Built around a hypnotic bluesy swing, 'Time' may be one of Wrights best songs to date. That said, it's slow pace, falsetto vocal and chilled demeanour make it more likely to soundtrack a Parisian art-house party than a bar in Belfast. This is no bad thing, on the contrary, it makes a refreshing change of pace from the tired 'maudlin acoustic-balladeer' format. Be warned though, those less exposed to the quiet folk of Ray LaMontagne and the like may need a few listens to fully appreciate it.

'Save You' see's Mere Moths return to more familiar ground, as another impressive piece of guitar work (think José González) draws the listener into his frantic fight to help his muse through another personal battle. Despite the captivating lyricism which is fast becoming a trademark ("God hates an equal, but he loves a trier"), 'Save You' lacks the bite of previous tracks such as 'Fight Me'; the sparse production leaving you wanting more.

In stark contrast, the anthemic thrall of 'Dance Music' is quite simply a joy from start to finish. Possibly (almost definitely) Wright's most enchanting song to date, everything from it's pulsating bass drum, to it's 'William It Was Really Nothing' inspired bridge captures the spirit of the 'Cool Britania' movement of the mid 90's. Even the falsetto call of the tracks chorus holds a beautifully sentimental value, reminiscent of Bono at his most delicate. It's a festival song, with fields full of revelers singing the chorus in unison in the Summer sunshine. (That said, it seems to be a song about a near-fatal car-crash...let's imagine it's a metaphor for now, shall we?)

 Just why Mere Moths has chosen to hide this gem so far down the tracklisting, only he knows, though thankfully this songs optimism comes pouring out from it's opening line,
Vocally excellent, 'Dance Music' also see's one of Mere Moths best ever guitar solo's ~ it's understated, 80's vibes proving a beautiful addition to a track full of heart.

So...not bad then.

Closer 'Break Left' see's a return to the slightly bluesy nature of the EP's title track. Another song of singalong quality, 'Break Left' is further evidence that Wright may have been raiding the 90's section of HMV before hitting the recording studio. Although his personal style remains as ever (particularly in the acoustic guitar riff which begins each verse), the warm melody which runs through the song feels like a forgotten Verve classic, with a definite nod to the likes of Noel Gallagher. It's a feel-good strummer in the vain of 'Married With Children' and an appropriate end to the EP.

Lyrically Patrick Wright has always been a fascinating prospect and that fascination is retained right up to Time's final track.

'It doesn't matter anyway, I'll still make you smile with my shit jokes all the time...No one sings like you anymore...'

The singer-songwriter's muse remains, and long may it continue. If Mere Moths embraces more of his 90's stylings, he may be one of Belfast's best... sooner, rather than later.

Taylor Johnson

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