moe.: The Conch

By Brian Heisler

moe.'s albums seem like one long, smooth story. Each album holds its own but seems to pick up where the previous release left off. Not to say there aren't surprises but when you crack open a new moe. album you know what you're going to get - smooth melodic choruses, funky, popping bass, extended jams, quirky lyrics, and a bunch of classic Al Schnier and Rob Derhak vocals, with a sprinkling of Chuck Garvey vocals. That's why we keep coming back for more.

The Conch is comprised almost entirely of songs moe. has been playing live for years. It arrives after the longest drought between albums for moe. [Wormwood was released February, 2003] and was created at five separate recording locations. The title track is a 54-second piece that at first seems like an intro to "Tailspin," but is actually a connector for various elements here. While it is a short piece, "The Conch" builds to a screaming finale much like the last note of a jam.

"Tailspin," contains all the makings of a classic moe. song, moving from hard and fast to soft and flowing, and back again. In the middle, less than intelligent clips of President George W. Bush are intermingled, reflecting the tailspin of his career and results of his decisions.

Jim Loughlin's marimba has never been more present than the first 90-seconds of "Wind It Up." A great live song, "Wind It Up" is the shining moment of this album. As previously mentioned, The Conch was recorded in many different locations and one of those locations was live at the State Theatre in Portland, ME on June 11, 2005. The crowd continued to sing the chorus, "Be on my side, I'll be on your side," during set break, which resulted in the track, "Y Eaux Massa." Whether or not the band had a name for this part of the song already is unknown. "Eaux massa" means "water massed" in French, which may be inspired by what happened in New Orleans two months later.

"Down Boy," has some of the best lyrics the band has penned. The album's title may be a reference to the classic novel Lord Of The Flies, in which a conch is used as a form of power. And sure enough, "Lord Of The Flies" is among the lyrics found on "Down Boy."

Of the new songs, only "Another One Gone" and "MacIntyre Range" are full-length. A dark tune, "Another One Gone" uses unusual percussion as Derhak discusses loss and waste through suicide, citing Kurt Cobain's death. "MacIntyre Range" is an acoustic instrumental with hints of cello and upright bass. This gives the album a new direction at the end, much in the same way Phish's "The Inlaw Josie Wales" does on Farmhouse.

There's often something about the punch a good band brews that seems to diminish as they get older, but moe. brings it on The Conch just as they did on Fatboy in 1992. Another Bush war later and they're still leaving it all on stage, or in the studio in this case.

JamBase | Rochester
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[Published on: 1/26/07]

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Robinlynnaf starstarstarstarstar Fri 1/26/2007 03:21PM
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Awesome cd! I love it!

cliffcliffordjr starstarstarstarstar Fri 1/26/2007 04:37PM
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Right on review Brian, from someone who has heard the whole of the new CD. Another great one from MOE. As though anyone would have doubted that.

Tan starstarstar Fri 1/26/2007 05:18PM
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Wind It Up is def the best on the album - but it fails to strike a chord with me as with all moe. albums.

BIsCoPhaNNmiKE starstarstarstar Fri 1/26/2007 05:51PM
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aite album...doesnt get the power to u like a concert would but arnt all albums like that...wind it up is best

Andrew Sat 1/27/2007 09:56AM
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I like the album. I haven't seen Moe live in a long time, so I'm sure they're rockin it onstage, but I like the album. It's a long album and there are a lot of nasty, brutal guitars, and catchy vocal hooks, plus the Steely Dan-esque 'Blue Jeans Pizza' is a quality, quirky banger. It stays in my head.

dafunkstick starstarstarstarstar Sat 1/27/2007 02:57PM
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Another ripper from moe.!! I couldnt be happier with this album and it keeps getting better each time i listen to it. I think that wind it up is nasty, but where does the time go keeps growing on me. the intro is beautiful and the lyrics are amazing. definately an amazing song. Im excited as hell to see rob bust out the upright bass when he comes to philly.

be kind, rewind

phishstir starstarstarstarstar Sat 1/27/2007 11:52PM
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bunch of good songs, worth the long stretch. Can't wait till the CD release party to hear them :-) Wind It Up is nice, but if you are in the wrong mood it may get you Down Boy... B-Hice, keep those reviews coming, though get out and see some live music, it's where it's at, Go BEARS!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstar Mon 1/29/2007 05:16AM
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‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

it was POP boredom to me... peace ya'll

okalrightic starstarstarstarstar Mon 1/29/2007 09:56AM
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sick album from a fantastic band. moe.ron for life!

Dodgertom8 starstarstarstar Mon 1/29/2007 04:01PM
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Its a nice mix of some classic moe. and some stuff that is in a different but interesting direction. Wind it Up is the best song the way that the song starts as a relaxed song builds into a great ending that is much like Phish's Harry Hoood. But I would throw The Pit and The Road into that conversation. All three songs are not quite as good as they are when heard live, but a very solid effort and fun listen from top to bottom.

tytyhughes starstarstar Tue 1/30/2007 04:07PM
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moe. is not that good, face it. Listen to phish or grateful Dead unless you like people singing with annoying voices

CoconutBoogaloo starstarstarstar Tue 1/30/2007 04:40PM
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Its always nice to hear moe. studio tracks, I'm thoroughly satisfied w/ the album, as always, and can't wait to see 'em the next couple of months! Chuck is Satan!

River starstarstar Tue 1/30/2007 05:19PM
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ok, i bought the new one today n i put it in the cd player n it took me a couple of tracks until i felt the groove.

Hanover starstarstarstarstar Tue 1/30/2007 08:08PM
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A hit in my book! the road nails it...

voodoochili12 starstarstarstar Wed 1/31/2007 01:55PM
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good stuff, i love blue jeans pizza, and nate wilson was a great addition to the song too. All in all it's not mind blowing but I give it an A- anways, great song from a great band.

and tytyhughes, this page is about the album, not what idiots like you think about moe. I for one find phish and the dead to be boring, but you don't find me mouthing off on their articles

lepheadbh starstarstarstar Wed 1/31/2007 09:22PM
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Great Band, Great Album. It didnt hit me like Wormwood did, but its a very good studio album from a great live band. The Road is my favorite right now. TYTYHUGHES, we all appreciate your inciteful high school opinion, but this is an album review, not a band review. Obviously if you dislike moe. that much, you have probably not heard the album and should be doing something more constructive with your time.

lovemusicfood starstarstar Wed 1/31/2007 09:51PM
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I'm a real big moe. live fan and this album "sounds" the best of their studo stuff as far as production goes. Still love their old stuff though. That's why I go to the shows. Yodelittle -> Dr. G -> 4 -> Water -> Moth Reprise. Put that on a cd.

easy_easy starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/2/2007 01:49PM
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moe isnt like pop music you have to understand the jams-its like shakespeare , if you are too stupid you will never understand it- blue jeans and pizza's jam is so ross i reccomend it to anyone who knows how to get down and love

jerry07 starstarstar Sat 2/3/2007 12:50PM
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good album- i liked wormwood more though!

earlgonefishn starstarstarstar Mon 2/5/2007 03:46PM
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TYTYHUGHES, I'll wait for the next Phish or Graterful Dead album to come out then we'll compare albums.

Oh wait, NEITHER BAND EXISTS ANYMORE! You're an idiot.

jackercrack starstarstarstar Mon 2/5/2007 03:50PM
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Blue Jeans and Pizza is a gem. I think all in all it's a good album but not their best work. Seems to lack consistency as a whole...some low spots...but that's just my opinion. But a so so moe. album is still a pretty good piece of work.

FLoYDBAMA Mon 2/5/2007 06:30PM
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haven't heard the cd, but the tailspin on the dvd live at fillmore is one of the better songs on there i think personally. moe. studio albums are okay, i would reccomend downloading a live show or buying a live album . The DVD is awesome too.

scooterz starstarstarstarstar Tue 2/6/2007 06:30PM
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i love the cd, the acoustic stuff near the end is different but great. i recently picked up fatboy, the first moe. cd and it's worth comparing the two, moe. has come such a long way, i loved the roots and i love where their going. i also love moe. and they are playing boston this friday so i hope for a mind blowing show.

bizzlebuffalo starstarstarstarstar Mon 2/12/2007 11:19AM
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i felt this album that the chuck songs were the best, i love where does the time go ,and wind it up. Al's got old and as always robs were groovin'. It still surprises me that people rip on moe. because they are different then phish and dead, theyre way more intense and there songs arent so happy go lucky boring like phish, they rock out so hard that you have to take breaks at shows, unlike phish where you can just sit on the ground and carry out a conversation. You have to concentrate on what moe. is doing to really appreciate it.

funnplay starstarstarstar Wed 2/14/2007 05:58PM
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Another great album from moe.
One of the hardest working bands out there today.
I look forward to hearing the new album live this spring!

Doesn'tmatteranyway starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/23/2007 08:17PM
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Another great contribution from one of the finest bands out there.

radioioJAM Tue 4/10/2007 07:50PM
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the best songs from the conch = radioiojam

amberleigh5930 Wed 4/11/2007 09:20AM
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I love this Album and I love moe. MOE.DOWN 8!!!!