I had originally ventured into the office today; partly because I had to visit my family doctor to get the “all clear on the ear” so I can ditch the ear plugs (click HERE) and get back to my regular swim program and partly because, well, it’s the office. Unfortunately my day was cut short thanks to a call from the school asking me to come pick up HRH who is not feeling well. So she’s on the couch with her “woob woob” while I’m back on the laptop pounding out the presentations.
Our listening pleasure while she relaxes and I resume work is the ‘No Guts, No Glory‘ album by moe..
Moe. (actually moe., but since it was starting off a sentance I used the capital “M”) is a band I genuinely only listen to live.
Well, not so much.
But this was a bit different since I found it for extremely cheap and HRH took a liking to the cover so I figured, “hey, why not?”
I do have to admit that the cover is pretty sick (ie. Simply the Tits).
Anyway, this album dates back to 2014 (on both Sugar Hill Records and Vanguard Records) and is, therefore, well outside my radar as far as the moe. tunes I am familiar with and love from the live performances I’ve seen and own in collection of bootlegs.
According to moe. bassist and vocalist Rob Derhak, “Basically, everything we started out to do turned into completely something else. An album that was supposed to be an acoustic based album recorded in a barn turned into a hard rock album recorded in Connecticut with a hip-hop producer. Go figure.”
Okay, so that doesn’t sound so bad.
So what was originally planned as an acoustic album, the 11th album experienced a transformation during the recording process with Dave Aron. A producer best known for hip-hop, Aron didn’t move the jam band in that direction but “encouraged (the band) to do what they do best: to play with themselves”.
But apparently they played their instruments as well since what’s demonstrated here on this album rather successfully is a group where interplay trumps all, which sometimes means they ride a groove, sometimes they lay back and solo, sometimes they cluster around a microphone and harmonize, sometimes they just enjoy the ruckus they cause. All of this can be heard on ‘No Guts, No Glory‘, as can the album’s acoustic roots; many of the songs begin with an acoustic intro – or something spare enough to suggest an acoustic intro, like the bluegrass ‘Do or Die‘, which is on electrics but surely feels like it originated on a back porch – and then build into something else, something a bit more full-blooded. This nimbleness, along with little bits of color like the sly marimba on ‘Calyphornya’, is why the album can seem simultaneously fresh and familiar. They aren’t exactly pioneering into new territory but they’re digging deep into their surroundings, still finding something to explore within themselves.
Bot bad for as bunch of guys sitting around “playing with themselves”.
It’s certainly better than I expected and I’m pretty happy I took a flyer on this album. HRH is even enjoying it as she happily melts into my EZ-Boy with Tina the Cat.