This first recording with the new lineup is MOA?'s most diverse album to date, and their most uneven. It sounds like they decided to walk into the studio with very little pretense as to what kind of a band they are and what kind of music they would create. A valid enough concept, and the results are valid enough, too.
The biggest strength this album has it it's sense of enthusiasim. This is a nice contrast to the almost gloomy mood of "Made From Technetium". You can hear the bright Brazillian sun under which these songs were recorded shining through.
An obvious, and much appreciated, play to the sensibilities of "old-school" MOA? fans. It is as if Trace Reading wanted to say "I can do it, too" right up front, to defy the anxieties of fans over the departure of the original lead guitarist and singer, Starcrunch. And do it he can, when he wants to. As becomes evident in some of this Album and much of his playing on stage, he doesn't always want to sound like Starcrunch. But for these few moments at least, everything is there, including those wonderful Starcrunch "whoops".
More strategic tracking. This track says "we ain't your Daddy's Man or ASTROMAN". It may not sound exactly like MOA?, but it sounds plenty good to me. Anybody worried that MOA? was starting stagnate and repeat themselves need not worry after hearing this.
Now we cut it right down the middle, the first half of this dual song sounds new, yet still a plausible extrapolation of previous trends in the MOA? sound. The second half is more familiar, containing fragmentary suggestions of "24 Hours" and "Special Agent Conrad Uno".
The close relationship between MOA? and the apparently defunct Servotron is evident here. It makes me wonder how much of the Servotron songwriting was done by Z40BX (Birdstuff), and if this song was an outlet for an idea that might otherwise have indeed ended up as a Servotron song.
The title track, and possibly the best one on the whole album. Everything you could want in an MOA? song is there and more, yet it still comes across as a very fresh statement from the new version of MOA?
Another excellent track, and just a slight excursion further into new territory than the previous track. This one is quite the crowd-pleaser live, with the amazing display of Coco and Blazar simultaneously playing the same double-necked Bass.
Sounds very much like what the title suggests. A closer relative to "D:contamination" and "U-235" than anything else. It doesn't really last long enough to become tiresome, despite it's fairly monotonous texture and incomprehensible vocoded vocals.
A great fast-paced track, with just a little suggestion of secret agent style. The first track on the album that seems almost too short.
What band is this? The Wonders? Whoever they are, their demo isn't going to generate much interest until they record it with a better cassette deck. Ok, all good natured ribbing aside, I really like this track. I just wish I could understand the words, but that doesn't stop me from humming it absentmindedly half the day.
Really cool noise track. Sounds very different, and much more structured, when they play it live with the drums played forwards.
Yeah, whatever. That is my response to both the title and the song. It starts out pretty good, like the soundtrack to a jaunty little Brazillian street scene. If George Gershwin has written "An Alien In Brazil", it might have sounded a little like this, if later electrified by a Jazz combo featuring the likes of Pat Metheany.
Then, apparently, there is a traffic accident involving wild animals and a marching band. I'm not sure why I don't mind this sort of avant-garde jazz jamming when King Crimson does it, but find myself less patient when MOA? does it. I guess this is just my own predjudice about what kind of a band MOA? is. These are my limitations.
This track is not really annoying for the first couple of plays, but then it starts wearing thin. I've experienced many recent MOA? songs that I didn't take a shine to at first, but which grew on me over time. This track, and "Myopia", are the first to actually become less appealing with repeated listening.
But hey, this band has been consistently pleasing and amazing me for many albums over several years. I'm not going to freak out if they make a couple of songs that I don't like that much.
Besides, I hear the Phish fans are really eating this stuff up.
According to our Brazillian friends on the Astro-list, this title means something like "now that the stars have died".
I love this song! For me, this is the best one on the album, and it rocks live, too. And talk about a hook; I can't get this one out of my head. I've annoyed everyone at work when I start drumming along with the music in my head in the middle of meetings, and the music in my head lately has usually been this song.
I've heard "Hey Jude" and "Freebird" enough times in my life already, thank you very much.
Sorry Astro-guys, I can't really put much of a positive spin on this one. Ummm.. hows this: you seemed to have played your instruments competently.
I'm not sure if it was a strategic decision or not, but I'm glad this track was placed in the more readily skippable and ignorable last position in the sequence.
The last time I saw Servotron live, Z4OBX (aka. Birdstuff) said that he wanted to quit Servotron because he wanted to "Jam". Well, he got his wish here, and I hope this gets it out of his system. Another possible explanation for this track, and "Within the mainframe..." is the rumor that Trace Reading was previously in a "hippie music" band.
Like I said before, I'm not going to freak out if MOA? goes on some musical adventures on which I cannot follow. But if more of their output starts sounding like this, I'm going to start losing interest. This is primarily a matter of personal taste and preference, not of quality.
An interesting innovation to put the liner notes in audio form at the end of the recording itself, rather than on the packaging. I guess there aren't any bothersome rules requiring giving credit on the package. It makes more sense to give credit on the same media as the work itself, like they do in the movies.
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