Two saxophone players, Wenzl McGowen and Mike Wilbur, and one percussionist, James Muschler, make up the Brooklyn-based outfit Moon Hooch. At first glance, that may seem more like a pathetic marching band straight from a preteen novel about worst middle school nightmares, but, thankfully, this group far exceeds that level of expertise and musical interest, and their self-titled debut is an exciting representation.
Of the 14 total tracks on the full-length, eight of them are given a simple numerical name, such as the first two, called “Number 9” and “Number 10,” respectively. These songs are all clearly inspired by disco-funk of a gone, but never forgotten, era. The precise, rapid drumming leads to a pleasant desire to tap feet and bob heads, and the saxophone harmonies make humming along a must.
However, despite that clear influence that carries through most of the record, there are a few outliers. “Mega Tubes,” the LP’s closer, has the only vocals on the otherwise completely instrumental release, featuring guest Alena Spanger. Its slow tempo and low, earth-shattering horn blasts give it the quality of a dubstep dance floor hit, and it has as close to a drop as the three instrumentalists can possibly come. A fitting finale, it is a testament to the versatility that the three men have.
This album can be underestimated in a heartbeat. At first, it seems like it could be an hour-long, unrelenting saxophone fill, but every track quickly proves itself to be incredibly catchy and easy to get with. While to the naked ear the songs sound very simple, Moon Hooch actually practice some pretty advanced techniques, and it’s those small things that really put this recording over the top.
In A Word: Complex