LA via Boston songwriter Dylan Moon draws a line directly to the private press gems that haunt forgotten dollar bins. Picking at some of the same sores that fellow folk shut-in Dylan Shearer wore clean on his two quiet gems, Moon is likewise a bastion of bittersweet sighs. More than just Shearer, though, there’s also a good dose of the boarded bedroom hush that haunts the likes of Bobb Trimble, Carl Simmons, or Danny Graham. The slight mustiness of claustrophobia that hangs on certain tracks is more comforting than suffocating, but where Moon differs most from these peers is that while his recording itself feels sequestered, it’s clear that he spends his off time (and likely some of the songwriting time) out in the air, soaking in the pale afternoon sun or drying in the salted sea air.
There’s an undeniable lonesome quality to the album, but that lonesomeness brushes against humanity rather than hides from it. Moon is a parkbench observer, a coffee shop lingerer. His junkshop drum machines shuffle with a worn mockasin slipper softness, but his guitars sparkle like the sun off the sea. Perhaps that’s what makes Only The Blues so affecting, it’s full of yearning from the edges, a feeling that most find themselves projecting at one time or another. It’s a folk-pop album at heart but the dust and scuffed veneer that Moon applies make the songs solidify into a sepia-toned sizzle.
At times the record feels like tossing faded poloroids out the window of a borrowed car, letting them fall where they may to inspire the finders to craft their own story from the baked-on vingettes. This is a great LP for the last gasp of summer since it’s ingrained with just the right amount of lament, a pang that speaks to the soul. It’s a Sunday depression that’s eased with each passing minute by the Tecate and lime used to mark the passage of afternoon hours, and Moon is right there with the listener at the other end of the bar, watching the patrons work through their own small sadnesses — islands adrift in the same sea.
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