The Sound of Avant-Prog and Progressive Pop may be an awkward crossover. Let’s say for example if Gentle Giant had teamed up with Supertramp, 10cc, and went on the road with Frank Zappa and the early Genesis period, it would have been an interesting tour. But, when you have a band coming out with one of the most electrifying debuts to come out last year, it is definitely worth listening to and that band is MoeTar and their debut album, From These Small Seeds.
Featuring Moorea Dickason’s soothing and strange yet amazing vocals that are a jaw-dropping reaction along with Charles Heulitt’s virtuosity guitar work that captures the essence of Zappa and Steve Hackett as he goes through various movement and melodic structures to capture Moorea’s voice. Meanwhile, you have the pounding drum work and keyboard surroundings of the Rhodes, Piano, and Organ work between David Flores and Matt Lebofsky while bassist Traik Ragab comes up with these jazzy fusion lines on his bass is a predicting experience to carry the torch of Jaco Pastorious and Chris Squire.
Imagine a groovy boundary with some soul and psych, and it becomes a blistering yet exhilarating difficult time-changing sing-along song on Butchers of Baghdad, it has a lot of catchy melodies as vocals/guitar sing the parts as Moorea sings her heart out to give the band a chance to get train rolling. Meanwhile, Random Tandem has this late ‘70s Pronk (Prog-Punk) sound between the combinations of New Traditionalists-era of Devo meets the Cardiacs as if to pay tribute to the great Tim Smith.
Opener, Dichotomy has this soaring and dancing upbeat tempo. Featuring Concerto-like piano introduction along with a laid-back groove evolves into bits of a symphonic movement. Coming out with Fender Rhodes and Moog-like fusion-like exercise, thumping bass, and guitars doing a stop-and-go by going through the clouds into unbelievable worlds that the listener goes into different dimensions.
As catchy as their third track, Infinitesimal Sky, they dive into the deeper waters of Genesis’ Selling England By The Pound-era. With heavy power chord and Hackett-like guitar lines, Charlie just goes at it by going through hard and prog combining into one as Moorea sings it out while Flores creates some synth-like work capturing the essence of Tony Banks.
The haunting militant yet marching beauty on Ist Or An Ism is very wacky and fun before it becomes a calming yet relaxing before getting back into the heavy mode for the ending while Morning Person and the title track is back into the difficult time changes resembling the sounds of Roxy Music’s 2HB and Frank Zappa’s The Dog Breath Variations. New World Chaos carries the marching sounds on the fifth composition, but it has this dreamy yet adventurous soaring story featuring crazy guitar work and the double-tracking vocalizations of Moorea as she takes your hand into this amazing fairy-tale surroundings.
The haunting Screed, possesses of taking a magic carpet ride off into the clouds and encountering thunderstorms before going into a day-like mode. There’s a lot of dramatic structures that is very much like a mini rock opera with pounding piano chords, dazzling drum work, and emotional structures between the vocals and guitar lines while the lyrics deals with a person struggling to breakthrough his past by suffering from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and getting away to find out who they really are by moving forward into the future.
The soothing Never Home is a love-letter to New York City that has some cool Rhodes-like work and Piano surroundings as Lebofsky challenges Thelonious Monk and Herbie Hancock. Closer, Friction captivates the climatic climax as it kicks into full gear with soaring turned gentle into a fast-driven complex. As the lyrics, “Flawed with contradiction/Pass along the friction/Villains are Altrustic/Heroes Narcisstic.” You can tell that Moorea was almost challenging the mind of Peter Hammill with a view on how the heroes and villains are what you think from the TV, News, and Comics.
I have listened to From These Small Seeds about 13 times and I just couldn’t get enough of this fine album. I can’t wait to see what MoeTar will have tricks up their sleeves for the follow-up and the group is one of the most daring bands I’ve listened to. So if you admire the bands and artists like; Gentle Giant, 10cc, Supertramp, Genesis, Yugen, Hamster Theatre, Frank Zappa, and Thinking Plague, this is one of the them.