Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag Australia - Full Moon 219 - 07/12/14

The Moles
Beauty Queen Of Watts b/w Chills
Fire Records

Australian-American musician Richard Davies has been around for ages, both as a solo artist and as a band mate. Back in the 1990s he had the chamber pop unit The Moles going around Sydney with a number of different players in the line-up. The band released two albums, Untune the Sky (Seaside 1991) and Instinct (Flydaddy 1994) before they relocated (or, rather, Davies moved) to the US and eventually disbaned. Davies then joined forces with Eric Matthews to form the short-lived Cardinal, whose self-titled debut (Flydaddy 1994) made a quiet buzz. Davies and Matthews embarked on solo careers, and Davies has put out some very fine solo platters over the years (though there's been quiet for some time): There's Never Been a Crowd Like This (Flydaddy 1996), Telegraph (Flydaddy 1997), and Barbarians (Kindercore 2000). Davies was also in a side project called The Cosmos alongside Robert Pollard (yes, of Guided By Voices fame), but they did only last for one album only ( Jar of Jam Ton of Bricks, Happy Jack Rock Records, 2009). All of a sudden, Cardinal, were reunited for a second coming in 2011, and a follow-up album to their 1994 debut was produced and presented, Hymns. Now, time has come for Davies to reach further back in time to revive his old project, The Moles, premiering the first new songs for 21 years!

The Moles 2014 is Richard Davies teamed up recording chief Jarvis Taveniere (from Woods), plus - as backing-band - the NYC based (American-Australian) combo Free Time (featuring Dion Nania, Adrienne Humblet, Michael Mimoun and Jonah Maurer - who, BTW, released an album entitled Free Time in April, recorded by the very same Taveniere). Well, the summer is on, and the 'jingly jangly' guitar pop jangle is on. "Beauty Queen Of Watts" and "Chills" are a classic pair, a so called double-A-side single. Back in the day, The Moles were inspired by the DIY Kiwi guitar pop from New Zealand from the 1980s. The glory days of Flying Nun Records. The Dunedin Sound. Those were the days! Such as the classic beauty of bands like The Chills, The Bats (even if they were from Christchurch...), The Verlaines, Sneaky Feelings, The Stones, Straitjacket Fits, Look Blue Go Purple, and many more. "Beauty Queen Of Watts" is described to be "...classic sparkling Oceania indie-pop, ripe with jangling clean electric guitars and wistful reminiscence." (Stereogum) I guess the single's flipside, "Chills" is more than a heavy nod; it must be an ode to the legendary The Chills. Who are - in fact - LIVING legends, as they're doing a reunion tour this summer! The Moles are touring (the UK) themselves this summer, so check them out if you can. "Beauty Queen Of Watts" is a classic, catchy, thin-wristed indie pop song. Happysad, romantic, a mild sea breeze of a song. Davies has described it as an ode to his time and days in the past in Sydney, Australia: "Sydney is beautiful but is also the place that people were sentenced to from the British Isles. So, a very romantic, sad, but resilient, hopeful song, like a convict would write..." While "Beauty Queen..." is the more bouncy of the two, "Chills" is more laidback, more an 'introvert type' of song. But, mind you, both are nuggets. Welcome back, Richard Davies and Moles! This is pop music that gives you good vibe chills. It's a time machine ride back to the late 80s, early 90s.

A new Moles album are to be released (also on Fire Records) later this year. Stay alert! In the meantime, enjoy "Beauty Queen Of Watts" and "Chills". You should also check the band's back catalogue, recently reissued as a 35 song set entitled Flashbacks and Dream Sequences: The Story of The Moles (by Fire Records).

Copyright © 2014 Howard Popeye e-mail address

© 2014 Luna Kafé