Light It Up by Moon HoochRelease date: April 6, 2018
There’s an old adage about how it’s impossible to dance to jazz music. Whether it’s something to do with the complex time signatures or the sounds of the instruments themselves, it is something that is commonly believed. It was never really true, but Moon Hooch seem to have made it their mission statement to stand in the way of this “fact”.
Comprising only a drum kit and two saxophones, these New York natives have spent so many years playing shows and busking throughout the world that it feels like they only begrudgingly take time out to put something on record. Light it Up may only be ten minutes long, but it’s three tracks give a great account of the bands unique mesh of dance music and traditional jazz that fits neatly into the band’s back catalogue, if not exactly expanding their repertoire.
There seems to be a bit of a trend in recent years for bands that play traditional styles of music infused with the beats and ethos of modern EDM music. With The Electric Swing Circus and the modern “gypsy jazz” scene mixing swing, folk and jazz with synthesisers in a clear parallel, Moon Hooch still sound remarkably unique. They manage to maintain the traditional sound of classic jazz and despite the modern technology somehow still have a very low tech vibe.
The band manages to ooze cool, from opener ‘Acid Mountain’ and its catchy saxophone rhythms to the title track’s lazy lounge sound (that soon gives way to speedier schizophrenic scratchings). There’s a swagger about this release, a feeling of a band that know they can do what they do better than anyone else. Each track brings something new to the table – mid track ‘Growing Up’ feels like an excitable toddler, bouncing away before a mighty drop – but yet it all still maintains a distinct Moon Hooch danceable air.
The fact that this EP is so short is a big strength. With each track around the three minute mark, they mostly breeze past and never last long enough to outstay their welcome. The shtick doesn’t have time to get old, but at the same time those familiar with the band will find nothing new here. Perhaps the promised addition of vocals (used sparingly on previous releases, completely absent here) would be helpful to create an extra dynamic, but as it is Moon Hooch have still come out with a fantastic stab of jazz that yes, you can definitely dance to.