Moonlight Is Sunlight
Reviewed by Michael Toland, Fri., Feb. 19, 2016
Taking inspiration from one's home landscape remains tried and true on Moonlight Is Sunlight. Paul Banks' fourth LP invokes the wide open vistas of West Texas, but Banks eschews any Lubbock mafia Americana. Instead, he and multi-instrumentalists Christopher Cox and Matthew Shepherd employ sparse arrangements to stretch out sinuous melodies into the desert skies. "West Was Won" and "Death" follow Banks' soaring tenor out to the horizon's edge, while the sedate title track and "Hitchhiker" keep eyes wide and the sunset vast. The band applies its aesthetic to genre-specific forays, including C&W ("No Country for Me") and soft rock ("Emily [Knot My Nets]"), though worldbeat pop tune "Always the Lonesome Ones" sounds jarringly out of place. Even a jaunty cover of Harry Nilsson's "Think About Your Troubles" moves from country roads to the infinite highway.