Heroes Of Toolik’s Winter Moon starts off with an intriguing break of romantic strings followed by a shaker, which almost sets the stage for a shootout in the old Western days. What follows, however, is a folky narrative with a trombone section that steals the spotlight away from the rest of the number. The band blends together a mixture of adult alternative, country and folk, which leaves them with a vibe that’ll appeal more or less to the older crowd. The quintet slows things down a smidge with the bass and brass heavy, “Externalities.” Moving at a steady, yet feel good pace, “Externalities” adds that bit of glitz that was missing from the rest of the album.

A love song with a harder flair and an added dose of tongue-in-cheekness brings the first half of Winter Moon to a close with Arad Evans’ rough vocals hitting its peak during the song. Much like the entirety of Winter Moon, Peter Zummo’s brass section steals some of the spotlight away from Evans during “Crazy Old Broad.” A soft, spoken word piece by Anna Esmé is laid over a peaceful nautical instrumental bed that almost drowns out Esmé’s words. The Heroes Of Toolik adapt a fresher, younger sound to “Ten Is High.” One of the final numbers on the release, “Ten Is High” blasts in with an uplifting accordion and lively lyrics. The disc closes out with “Bede,” one of the deeper songs on the CD. Strong guitar riffs, a chill drumbeat and that boisterous brass section rearing its head gives Winter Moon that glow a moon should have.

Polished and focused, Heroes Of Toolik’s new album is worth a listen if you’re in the mood for something smooth and sweet with some roughness thrown in for flavor.

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