There are quite a few bands who don’t really know how to make “colorful” music. This isn’t to say they can’t competently play material that is constantly changing and bouncing from genre to genre, but the members just don’t have the built in ability to make it sound natural. This is through no fault of their own, but there are times when that ability can make all the difference. Without this ability an album like Moon Tooth‘s Chromaparagon couldn’t work. Luckily for us, every member has this elusive gift and they sprinkle it across the entire record in liberal amounts.
The diversity across this album is definitely its strongest selling point and it makes quick work of giving up the goods from the get go. The first track ‘Queen Wolf’ rips the hinges off the door and sets a very nice pace that the album keeps up with rather well, starting off furiously fast only to have a melodious and triumphant finish. The second track ‘Offered Blood’ has a crushing, twangy groove that screams Crack the Skye era Mastodon and the third track ‘Igneous’ is a chug-heavy blues song (Don’t worry, there’s organ in there) that’ll make you wish a train killed your baby so you could hunt down that goddamn, good for nothing train and rip its wheels off. It also gets bonus points for featuring a sound bite from the excellent 1986 film Crossroads. We are only three songs into the record and have experienced quite a bit of musical diversity. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Chromapargon is a record that consists of so many left hooks that you should begin to expect them, but you never do. It goes plenty of places stylistically and none of them are disappointing. Each unexpected punch to your eardrums feels not only satisfying, but also authentic. This music isn’t vibrant or different because of the band are trying overly hard to make it that way, it just simply is.
As we all know, stellar music can’t be carried through a lackluster performance. That’s why Moon Tooth play on this album like it’s their last. The passion in these recordings is palpable and it carries the music into a realm of legitimacy that you just can’t get from artists that aren’t wholly invested in what they’ve created. Music this raw deserves a performance with an edge/personality to it and each member delivers. One member in particular, vocalist John Carbone, deserves to be singled out for his soulful and energetic performance that pushes a lot of these tracks to their full potential.
For all the great things this record has, there is a single complaint. It is a record that is great on an individual song level, but it is a bit of a chore to listen to in one sitting. You could say it runs a bit long in the moon tooth. More than likely this can be attributed to the intensity of the performance. Not a large complaint, but one that deserves to be expressed.
Chromaparagon is an album that is going to put Moon Tooth on the radars of listeners far and wide, but is also an album that will keep itself on those radars. Instead of becoming a fleeting blip, it will be a constant pulse of motion in-between your ears. The music is colorfully off-kilter and will have you coming back time and time again, not only to hear the music, but also the performance that comes with it. If you’re sleeping on Moon Tooth, do yourself a favor and don’t.