Detroit via Brooklyn outfit Moonwalks have recently release Western Mystery Tradition, on Fuzz Club Records. Moonwalks are Kerrigan Pearce (drums), Jacob Dean (guitar), and Kate Gutwald (bass). Originating in Detroit’s DIY scene, the trio started out playing in warehouses and makeshift venues across the city. Since then, they’ve gone on to tour extensively throughout North America and Europe supporting acts like The Murlocs, Metric, Julian Casablancas & The Voidz, Thee Oh Sees, The Liminanas and The Mystery Lights, to name a few.
A departure from the band’s DIY psych-rock roots to a more mature and polished sound, the new record was produced by Mattiel’s Jonah Swilley and recorded in May 2019 at Detroit’s acclaimed (and rumored haunted) Masonic Temple with Bill Skibbe (Jack White, The Kills) in a lodge belonging to the Free Masons’ Detroit chapter.
Talking about the new record, Moonwalks said: “Western Mystery Tradition was conceived in the winter of 2019 amidst a polar vortex in Detroit. At the time and in between touring, we lived together in a house on the west side that lacked a working stove and had no power in half of the building. The band – trapped indoors due to temperatures in the negatives and massive amounts of snow – drew inspiration from our isolated state amidst a bleak Michigan winter.”
They open with an ‘Introduction’ that strikes an almost sombre note, but don’t let it fool you, they are, as the name suggests, only just getting started. ‘War on Nothing’ is the finest song on the LP, a pacey number with a deep garage rock groove at its heart that has you humming it for days. Drummer Kerrigan explains “‘War on Nothing’ delivers an uncompromising drive matched with a message taking on a new meaning in a post pandemic world.” ‘Natural Possession’ hints at Western origins and would find its place on to any such soundtrack and ‘Cherry Shade’ has a darker essence that makes it somehow all the more intriguing, as if they are tempting the listener to the dark side. ‘Jodi’s Shoes’ is almost krautrock at its heart, with a motorik beat driving things but the lyrical style is pure rock n roll. ‘Outer Limits’ wraps up the first side neatly, drawing on bits of all the tracks which have gone before and also draws on some of the garage greats for inspiration.
‘Crown of Roses’ and ‘Joy of Geraniums Pt. II’ are a heady country-infused duet with evocative vocals and moody countenances that strike deep. The addition of a pedal steel on the second of the two strikes a particularly haunting note and ‘Cream of the Country’ rounds of this trilogy. ‘Into Time’ swings back to the garage sounding offerings and the albums finishes out with ‘Heavy Tears’ which is a full on journey into the psychedelic with the added percussion invoking the rituals of old.
Moonwalks have produced an album that exudes energy and a pizzazz, with hooks that linger long after the tracks have finished and find you wanting to listen all over again.