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The Moondoggies

Tidelands (Hardly Art)

Reviewed by Melanie Haupt, Fri., Sept. 16, 2011

ACL Music Fest Saturday Reviews

The Moondoggies

Tidelands (Hardly Art)

A large, blurry rock flanked by obscuring fog that juts from a glassy body of water, with its reflection revealing the rock in sharp focus as backgrounded by a forest of evergreens, the cover art on this bearded Seattle quartet's sophomore release is an apt metaphor for Tidelands. As a cohesive set of songs built to complement one another, from the persistent water imagery to the songs that start and end in the same key, Tidelands creates a song cycle that fuses harmonic, pedal-steeled Americana (Crosby, Stills & Nash are no small influence here) with emotive chamber pop. The centerpiece is easily "Empress of the North," which is so evocative of the damp Pacific Northwest chill, of a drive into the inscrutable trees, of fiddlehead ferns, and of a young man who dreams of his love's red hair. Moody, beautiful, nearly perfect. (4:30pm, Austin Ventures stage)

****

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