Disponible en CD & LP le 31 Janvier 2011

is something inherently calming about large bodies of water. In times of
emotional duress, standing at the edge of a ocean, watching the waves roll in
and out, centers the spirit in a way standing on terra firma cannot. Kevin
Murphy chose to title the Moondoggies’ new album Tidelands in part because of a remote area
outside his old stomping grounds of Ketchikan, Alaska where he used to go
camping and escape from civilization. But more importantly, as the sly
recurring themes of water throughout the Seattle quartet’s second full-length
underscore, these are songs crafted to provide solace, sense, and cause for
celebration in a world fraught with turmoil.

the water represents can be taken many different ways,” concedes Murphy. “Many
of the lyrics came to me while trying to be constructive in how I dealt with
feeling depressed, rather than just getting wrapped up in my own head.”

full-throated vocal harmonies are still central to the band’s sound, the ten
selections that comprise Tidelands
embrace a wider range of timbres and dynamics than their 2008 debut, Don’t Be A Stranger.
Stylistically, this sophomore set is a significant creative leap forward for
the young band. There are selections fashioned from little more than hushed
acoustic guitar and vocals (the haunting “A Lot of People On My Mind”), and
others—such as the robust “What Took So Long”—that rise and fall and accumulate
momentum, veering towards gospel fervor with impassioned blasts of organ, then
reeling back in quiet reflection. Tunes written almost exclusively by Murphy
are juxtaposed with those born from long sessions improvising with his band
mates: drummer Carl Dahlen, keyboard player Caleb Quick, and bassist Robert
Terreberry. There are numbers that were composed at home in Seattle, alongside
others created during Murphy’s isolation in Alaska (“Empress of the North”).
The haunting “Lead Me On,” featuring violin by Seth Warren of the Maldives,
sprang from the union of two different songs by Kevin and Carl. Further enriching
the album’s sonic palette are pedal steel performances by another member of the
Maldives, Chris Zasche.

in the winter months bridging 2009 and 2010, the record has a more unified feel
than its predecessor. “On our first album, we crammed everything on there,
because we didn’t know if we were ever going to have another opportunity,”
admits Kevin. “This time I really wanted it to make sense as an album. There
was a theme, and I felt that honing in on certain songs and a particular
feeling made it a more interesting record, and not just Don’t Be A Stranger, Part 2.”
(Songs deemed worthwhile, but inappropriate for inclusion on Tidelands, found a home
on the EP You’ll Find No
Answers Here
, released in June 2010.)

new album was produced and recorded by the band and Erik Blood (who also
oversaw the making of their debut), with additional production input from
Seattle stalwarts Phil Ek and Kurt Bloch. The quartet experimented and took
risks during this process: multiple reads on the same song were tried, with
various vocal and instrumental arrangements taken up and abandoned until the
right balance was struck. While “Empress of the North” appears on Tidelands as a hushed
acoustic ballad consisting entirely of acoustic guitar and pained, longing
vocals, Blood convinced the guys to record an additional, vintage soul-style
rendition of the tune. Bloch, meanwhile, recorded the quartet live-in-studio to
capture the feel of their spirited live shows.

they sprang from Seattle’s vibrant roots music scene, the Moondoggies are a
band schooled in much more than the common touchstones of the current Americana
movement; there are no intentions of treading water stylistically here. It’s
precisely this creative stretching that has resulted in the bands most artistic
step forward to date: Tidelands.