It’s taken Poor Moon four years to arrive at the point where they are ready to release an EP. If that sounds like a long time then consider that the band contains members of Fleet Foxes, Crystal Skulls and The Christmas Cards. Everyone here has a day job as a member of an established band; and as such, “Illusion” could either be a side project or a labour of love. Given that it was recorded at a distance by the exchange of demos, in various homes, practice halls and studios, I like to think it is a combination of the two.
Fans of the above bands will recognise elements of their sounds within this EP. A folk album with definite indie leanings, “Illusion” offers songs in the narrative tradition: a series of vignettes and inner monologues giving a brief view into a moment, a life or a thought process. As a result – and despite having been recorded at various times in various locations – the experience is a very personal one.
Each song has a ‘crafted’ feel to it, in spite of production that tends towards the demo (but not to the extent that it detracts from the sound particularly), as experienced and skilful song writing is demonstrated through the five tracks on “Illusion”. Simple vocal harmonies add depth, while guitar sounds – and indeed composition – sound at times almost retro, with a little of the ‘60s folk magic included for good measure.
Singer and main song writer Christian Wargo’s voice is at times fragile but emotionally warm, particularly during the title track, as a conversation with himself is played out. At other times, such as “Anyplace”, the vocal harmonies accompany an almost jazz feel to the underlying choral structures. The nature of the music lays bare the musicians’ performance, demanding absolute honesty in the playing, with no effects to divert the attention of the listener.
The lyrical content is like a glimpse through a window or a snatched conversation: “People In Her Mind” tells of a woman you’d probably miss if you passed her in the street; and “Widow” is an achingly sad picture of a life blighted and a person left quite alone.
The haunting cover artwork shows someone (a king, a wise man, or maybe God?) standing in a boat like moon on a sea of clouds beneath a dome of stars, and reflects some of the beauty captured in these songs.
“Illusion” serves as a taster for the album due later this year, and judging by what Poor Moon has delivered so far, it’s going to be a good one.