EP Review: Night Moves – Carl Sagan

Night Moves release the Carl Sagan EP.
Photo Credit: Bryan Derballa

Night Moves – Carl Sagan EP


Listening to Night Moves’ new EP ‘Carl Sagan’ is a glorious and uplifting experience because their music envelops you in a soft duvet of grand, sweeping, hooky goodness in a style that belies categorisation. As a result, ‘Cosmic Music’ is probably the closest you will get to any sort of pigeonhole. It doesn’t really matter as everyone will probably find something to love in their new EP, the title track from current album ‘Pennied Days’.


The band formed in 2009 in Minneapolis–Saint Paul (the ‘Twin Cities’) with John Pelant and Micky Alfano at its core. Both were friends since high school and solidified their friendship through sharing a copy of George Harrison’s ‘All Things Must Pass’. You can hear that foundational melancholic, melodic, mystical influence in their sound which has been further built on with years of listening to and imbibing great – and varied – musical influences from McCartney to Wilson to Mayfield to the Flaming Lips.


Pelant and Alfano are musical borrowers, rummaging the shelves and bottom drawers of musical history and taking elements to create a sound that is both a superb sum of those borrowed and reworked parts and something entirely new and brilliant. Their new EP – ‘Carl Sagan’ – is named for the renowned astronomer, cosmologist and science populariser who is best known for his epic documentary series ‘Cosmos’, therefore, I couldn’t think of a better title for an EP which itself sounds like it is looking upwards and on a journey in search of meaning.


“A lot of the songs are about trying to find yourself and what your future will look like and who you are – life overall”


The EP is a multi-textured, layered affair with cosmic synths, electronica and intermittent folk elements which consequently demand attention. The title track – ‘Carl Sagan’ – is a lovely pop-rocker with a beautiful falsetto vocal, courtesy of Pelant. Whereas, ‘Drum Test’ is rather more experimental and slightly dreamlike, as if heard by a passenger on board a spaceship cruising through the Milky Way.


‘Lovely, Lately’ has a sound transported here from the 1970s, and remixed for the modern age and is a much more structurally straightforward turn; a piano driven effort with strings and mouth organ. Pelant’s vocals again are lovely here. “Wondering How” ups the gears and adds a driving rhythm section to the mix. “Maria” is another fantastically melodic number – starting with some slide guitar with a hint of some Harrison-esque guitar sound. The song contains some great melodic parts and some fabulous chord changes. It is therefore on a par with the title track.


“I was spending my days going into my basement, being in the dark while it was sunny outside” says Pelant of the making of ‘Pennied Days’. There is only the sound of light on that album and this EP; so maybe a little time in the dark is good for the soul. Consequently, Night Moves are a band that have created a sonic universe that any fan of music should explore; who knows what pleasures you might discover on that journey.



‘Carl Sagan’ is available as a digital only release through Domino Music (http://www.dominomusic.com/) and all good streaming services.



  1. Carl Sagan
  2. Drum Test
  3. Lovely, Lately
  4. Wondering How
  5. Maria


Night Moves Tour Dates:

  • Sun Jan 15th – Bristol – Crofters
  • Mon Jan 16th – London – Omeara
  • Tues Jan 17th – Brighton – The Hope & Ruin
  • Thurs Jan 19th – Leeds – Brudenell Social Club (Games Room)
  • Fri Jan 20th – Glasgow – Oran Mor







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