Blue Moon Harem – “Finland”
Exploding into the jangly support of “Stay,” this latest album from Blue Moon
Harem makes the listener want to follow their musical directives for the better
part of this better-than-most album. From the gritty hush of “Give and Take,” the
acoustically exposing “Here I Am,” the light Pop of “I See Red” and the jam
band-y groove of “Beautiful Danger” to the anthemic bouncer “Dotted Line” and
the haunting howls of the shivery title track, the diversity of sounds on this 11-
track album impresses and intrigues. Far from the Monty Python classic of the
same name, this “Finland” is a serious set that travels far and wide on broad
musical wings supported by the dynamic duo of Jonathan Bix and Demetri J. and
their talented team of sessioners. Professionally produced by Jim Siegel at The
Outpost in Stoughton, “Finland” is a well-devised and well-delivered package
that takes listeners far away and yet is rooted in solid songwriting and care for the craft
Matt Robinson Dirty water
Worth A Listen: Blue Moon Harem
Filed under: New Talent — Real Rock News
Seems like we’ve had a pretty long stretch of dreary weather here in the northeast U.S., so queuing up some music from a
Boston-based band called Blue Moon Harem seemed like a good way to brighten the day up a bit.
There are a lot of bands out there vying for the world’s attention these days and although many of them are quite good, I
don’t stumble upon new acts too often that I will actually spend time listening to. That’s pretty much how I decide if I’m
inspired enough to write about a new band. If I put their music on and don’t shut it off within 30 seconds or so, I feel as
though I may be onto something. If I listen to the entire album and then start from the beginning and listen to the whole
thing again, I know I am onto something. That was the case with Blue Moon Harem’s latest album.
The new release is called Finland, which also happens to be the title of my favorite track off this new album. This is their
second album, although previous to the release of Finland, I had not heard of them.
Founded by Jonathan Bix and Demetri Joannou, Blue Moon Harem has been garnering more and more attention as
listeners to internet radio stations like Reverb Nation and Jango Radio discover their music. They’ve also been putting
time in on the road, becoming somewhat of a fixture on the New York City club scene. Although I describe them as
“new,” the group has been around for a few years, releasing their self-titled debut album during 2002.
Having sampled tracks from their first album, I wholeheartedly agree that their decision to become “more focused on
songcraft than technological wizardry” was the right way to go. That’s not to say that their first album sucked, but I’m not
sure it’s one that would have made its way onto my regular play list.
With the release of Finland, however, I think these guys are really starting to hit their stride. It’s got elements of that
“classic” rock and roll sound that drew me in on the very first listen. Comparing the two albums gives one the impression
that they decided on a pretty extensive make-over.
With the release of Finland a couple of weeks behind them, Blue Moon Harem is taking their new music on the road
with bassist Pep Hernandez and drummer Steve Hart rounding out the group.
The video below – albeit a bit rough quality-wise – shows that these guys are indeed at their best when they step away
To avoid the whole “Boys from Boston” intro let me just start off by saying that fans of Live, Third Day, and Jars of Clay will adore Blue Moon Harem’s latest release, Finland. The album mixes prog rock with a slight country sway in vocals in a majority of the album tracks but the band also takes off in flights of more aggressive fronts that border hard rock. This is very radio friendly stuff but hardly fluff. I could listen to the album several times and never come to the conclusion that maybe BMH are trying top hard to keep it safe.
Production on the entirety of the album is fantastically crisp. Guitar work here is so solid and life like you’d think at times the performance was being performed in whatever room you may be enjoying the album in. Vocals are fantastic as well. Jonathan Bix has a wonderful voice that shows range and skill that makes every track a real pleasure to listen to. I can see other bands, and I’ve heard some, who would attempt this particular sound and simply come off a bit phony. Bix’s vocals are sincere and delivered with a powerhouse performance that gives vindication to the album’s lyrics. Really great stuff.
For me there wasn’t one track on the album that I feel it could have gone without, even the introduction to Finland which is a spacey 50+ second intro that just feels ominous approaching the slightly aggressive sounding tune. So if you’re a fan of the above mentioned bands or just prog rock your more then likely going to be in love with this album as much as I am. Definitely worth checking out. As always final judgment is yours. Enjoy. AJ Garcia Shakefire.com