Restrained to the point of transparency, this fourth full-length from SF's
Greg and Thom Moore weaves unsettling acoustic folk-blues atmospheres from
a palette of only piano, acoustic guitar and vocals. The brothers, who have
opened for and backed Paula Frazer, have high, pure, remarkably similar voices
that echo, harmonize and reinforce each other in mysterious ways.
Perhaps because they're brothers, with similar character and quality in their
notes, the singing melds together; harmonies seem like single notes, so
undivided are the tones. The sweetness and melancholy of the arrangements
evoke 1960s folk icons like Simon & Garfunkel and CSN, though the
blues-leaning bite of their songs feels more like unplugged Michael
Penn. Barbed, too, are the words that go with these angelic tunes.
It's unsettling when the words "If there were one thing in this world that I
would cure/ You know it wouldn't be cancer/ Because even the tumor on my
little toe/ Doesn't smell half as bad/ As the parties you throw," sidewind
out of the porch-blues lilt of "Fresh Thoughts of You." Still, it's
this sort of secret sharpness that keeps Murdered by the Moore
Brothers from boring prettiness. Just when you're admiring the
delicate harmonies of "At Terror," you notice the uneasiness of the lyrics,
the abrasive slash of blues guitar accompanying them. The whispered
ah-ahs and close-noted harmonies of "Bury Me Under the Sweet Kissing Teens"
could hardly be more 1960s pop gorgeous, but what a twisted title!
There's a shiv sticking out of every moment of glorious Hollies chamber pop in
this ethereal album,
far from detracting, a hint of violence makes it several
notches more compelling.