Seattle may forever be defined as the birthplace of grunge, but the city’s sonic landscape has moved in an almost diametrically opposite direction in the years since Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains helped put it on the map. In its place, a rootsier, more ethereal sound has swept across the Pacific Northwest over the past decade.
The Moondoggies are among the latest bands to crop up from Seattle’s fertile, folk-inspired flowerbed, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Band of Horses and Blitzen Trapper. Adios, I’m a Ghost, the Everett, WA, quartet’s third full-length record and first for Sub Pop, covers a broad cross section of the ’60s folk, psychedelia, and ambient alt-country sounds that have come to redefine the region. After opening with a brief spell of woodsy fingerpicking, the band gets right into it on “Red Eye”, which turns the record’s soft opening on its ear with a full-bodied chunk of twangy rock and roll. From there, “Pride” revels in the haunting, backwoods folk of Fleet Foxes, “Start Me Over” channels Band of Horses’ big, pastoral power pop, and the echoed, ’70s groove of “A Lot To Give” screams My Morning Jacket.
The record’s myriad reference points will suit anyone who fancies retrofitted ’60s and ’70s folk rock sounds. But while the Moondoggies integrate themselves nicely with their peers, little on Adios, I’m a Ghost separates the band from the herd. When the band does step out of its shell a bit, as on the pleasant, rambling ”Stop Signs”, the sounds linger in your head a little longer. Nothing on Adios, I’m a Ghost offends, and in fact it’s often pretty good. But it doesn’t leave much of a lasting impression, either.
Essential Tracks: “Red Eye”, “Start Me Over”, and “Stop Signs”