Reviewed by Matt Dentler, Fri., Sept. 2, 2005
Like You Were Never There (Spinster)
Austin's Moonlight Towers has never been a band that challenged listeners, and that only gets you about as far as one album. Like You Were Never There is the band's second LP. Upbeat, assured, and unflinchingly safe, Like You Were Never There ends up having a title perhaps more ironic than the band intended. Its 12 tracks come and go like the kind of Red River club-hop where you'd inevitably run into the local quartet. Vocalist James Stevens puts a grip into his Paul Westerberg growl and manages to sound menacing at least once or twice. It definitely happens on the album's best song, "Born to Die," a moody and splendid tune. The song captures the balance between power pop and alt.country that makes Moonlight Towers a reliable live act. Yet, tracks such as "I Sleep Alone" and "Every Second Drags" are as lazy as they are named. For an album primarily recorded in New Orleans, the songs lack the kind of bite we usually get from Moonlight Towers. Who knew "power pop" could sound so powerless?