Sudbury is likely one of the most overlooked locations for music modern day, and Howie Moonlight’s debut mini-album is a prime example of why. Their music has lingered in my mind and in my music library long before this release through audio rips of their performance videos on YouTube of pop gems such as “Shanghai” and “On the Run (From Love)”, and their lone studio recorded single (re-recorded for this release) “Fear and Loathing in Space”. As luck would have it, they release this, and Howie’s crew disbands almost immediately after, which suuuuuuuuuuuuucks. But, at least we have this.
This thing is made up of 7 songs and 3 audio “logs”, all killer, no filler. The version of “Fear and Loathing in Space” while perhaps slightly less successful of a pop mix when compared to the original, is actually more interesting. It’s off-kilter, and there’s more depth to the mix. “Shanghai” and the title track are predictably fantastic, but I’m finding myself listening to “She’s a Working Man” and “Shut Up and Love Me” even more. The former has a brilliant and brightly toned synth lead, a chugging guitar riff, and drumming like thunderous claps, sweeping the listener up in a wave of infectious cheese. “Shut Up and Love Me” just breezes by so quick. It’s the simplest, most direct track, and the somewhat loungy vocals are at their most charming here. “Planetoid//Continuum” could be swapped into a Miami Vice soundtrack and your only question would be “how did I miss these guys 30 years ago?”.
Everything is absurdly fun, and that’s what matters. Imagine if Star Trek was a teen romantic comedy series set in the 90s, back when the hip thing was to have bands on the show. Howie Moonlight would be the band playing a residency at the space club. The deep, naturally produced mixes put the listener right there, and who honestly wouldn’t rather be in a space club right now?
On the Run (From Love):
Music video for the title track: