Moon and Bike compose the soundtrack of a daydream on the tender tones of “One”. A bright brilliant blend of electric and acoustic guitar, they hit the right balance between the two. Their deft interplay reveals two guitarist who truly listen to each other, bouncing ideas and gestures off each other with the utmost of care. Without needing to say a single word they create a lyrical album for they truly excel at making their guitars sing. Forgoing traditional rhythm they opt for a pastoral vision one where the cyclical nature of their playing results in trance-like ragas that soar on up into the sky.
Together they touch upon the majesty of the late, great group Gastr del Sol. Akin to that group, they weave the acoustic and electric in a distinctive and elegant fashion. Boone Johnson’s acoustic work at times draws from John Fahey’s expressive American Primitive style, for there is a rawness there that incorporates a bit of the blues lending the sound a certain pathos. For the flipside, Michael Swanson’s guitar brings elements of Galaxie 500’s slowcore flavor alongside the shoegaze aspects of the Cocteau Twins to bring some bliss into the mix.
“River” opens the album up on a pastoral note. Aptly named, it explores a vast space with the dream pop fervor of the electric guitar buzzing with a distinct giddiness. The western twang of “Nearer Sky” brings a hint of the spaghetti western into the mix for it is an epic sound one full of grandeur. Rhythms have a nimbleness to the meditative “Moon and Bike” where a hushed awe overtakes the procession. With “Two of Us” the acoustic serves as the rhythm as the electric talks with it, resulting in a spirited discussion. Going for a passionate performance the fiery “Roads” has a hard-fought power to it, with the muscular electric guitar work further emphasizing a cinematic flair.
Yearning runs through the whole of the pining quality of “Solitude”. By far the highlight of the album comes from the impeccable skill of “Native”. Here they imbue a sense of wonder into the piece with the guitar riffs running their up ever higher. Delicate arrangements are kept in a careful dance on “Before Dark” where the sound has a romantic quality to it. Perfectly flowing off of that energy is the cascading movements of “Stars” that have a celestial glow. On the finale of “Voyager” they tie together all that came before in a way that feels incredibly and deeply satisfying.
“One” reveals a clever musical partnership of the Moon and Bike for they explore lush, luxurious territory with such care and compassion.