Sea of Tranquility, UK
„(…) Opening track „Devil’s Got A Piece Of Us“ is a gloriously understated guitar and vocal meander through what sounds remarkably like American folk music, with the sparse arrangements allowing some stunning harmony vocals to carry a theme that reminds of something that Neil Young may have come up with if he had jammed with Simon & Garfunkel. The cleverly titled „Tom Waits“ follows that up with a more groove oriented vibe, where the guitar work rather oddly sounds like something Hank Marvin may have come up with if he hadn’t found an electric guitar. Yet again the vocals gently, yet firmly force their way to centre stage but this time the arrangements make for a far busier backdrop, with some wonderful mandolin playing adding a new texture. And so the album continues with the interesting folk basis being stretched with drops of Americana, prog and country music to form something that sounds comfortable and familiar, but bright and unusual at the same time. Songs like „The Hiker“ stay more true to the folk roots of this bizarrely dressed bunch, whereas the mesmerising „Cross The River“ relies on mandolin, ukulele and banjo to steer things in an altogether more country direction, but in a way that is oddly oriental at times.
In these days of downloading The Moonband have also put together a wonderful little booklet to accompany their CD entitled „The Fabulous Moon Book („Play Your Guitar Like The Odd Guys From The Moonband Do“) where little hints of tunings and tablature sit alongside the lyrics to the songs, but the only problem with attempting to play along with this album is that according to the diagrams, you actually need six fingers to play these songs („Five fingers, six strings, silly humans“).
As debuts go, Open Space is a quite wonderful album that is a great introduction to a band made for listening to on sunny afternoons on the porch, or come to think of it, rainy mornings staring at the drops on the window. Dreamy, assured and delightfully alluring, The Moonband may be a little bonkers, but they make an irresistible noise while they’re at it.“