By: Dennis Cook
Usually I'm head over heels for anything that pours from Nathan Moore's quill, so it was surprising how long it took You Yeah Smokin' Hot (Reapandsow Music) to open up to me. This is even more odd when one considers that Smokin' Hot is far and away Moore's most readily accessible, modern radio friendly set to date. However, if like me, your taste in Moore runs closer to "Fat King of Gods," "Unprotected" and "So Close To Dreams" then his latest takes some getting used to. That said, once you just put your feet up and crank this album you'll find a warm, enjoyable collection given to breezy skipping, big-eyed love pronouncements and sly funereal subtleties.
Nathan swings with a contemporized Hot Club verve here, shuffling snare drums and girly backing vocals adding sugar to his strawberries. There's a sheen to the production and even the internal tone of many cuts that lines up well with Jack Johnson, John Mayer and other populist fare, but the songwriting – the words, melodies, etc. – remains head and shoulders above those common denominator chaps. Still, Moore seems to have consciously trimmed back his vast, spiritually charged intellect a bit, seeking the good in simpler constructs often built around easily sung choruses.
It's a pleasure to hear his studio take on "Safe And Sorry," track that's become a staple with pals Big Light, and like every Moore release, there's shiny pleasures buried within every track if you're willing to dig a bit. "Lost And Found" is a real killer, a face-in-the-mirror bit o' dark truthfulness that understands not all clowns are funny, and closer "Don't Go" shimmers like a beautiful U2 outtake from the Joshua Tree period. Nothing could make me happier than to see Nathan Moore's name in big lights, slipping past the mainstream's mediocre force field and snapping up some of the gold still waiting at the end of rainbows. You Yeah Smokin' Hot points him in this direction, and while somewhat lighter fare than his past work it's no less excellent if one can slip free of their expectations for this massively talented artist.
JamBase | Catchy
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