Tuesday, July 26, 2011

MOVING TARGETS - Brave Noise & Burning Water [.FLAC]

Boston legends Moving Targets released their second album, the Brave Noise LP, on Taang! in 1988. Listening years afterward, one is struck by how well the whole effort still holds together: the influential songwriting, musicianship, and above all Lou Giordano's production (with the up-and-coming Carl Plaster assisting). Moving Targets was a band who never got their due and remained largely unacknowledged -- even in Boston years down the line -- for their important contributions as a post-punk and pre-grunge link. Like their far better-known (and yet somehow still not recognized proportionally to their level of impact) colleagues Hüsker Dü, Moving Targets combined the ferocious spirit, energy, and alienated lyrics of hardcore with traditional rock & roll and pop songcraft. Still, the breakneck pace and attack of their 1986 debut Burning in Water had decidedly ebbed two years later. What listeners hear is the predictable maturing of a band, after their debut LP, doing a fine job of battling the sophomore slump. Bassist Pat Leonard had been replaced by Chuck Freeman, who makes significant vocal and instrumental contributions. On songs like "Carcrash," his backing vocals are far more pronounced and well-conceived than the seeming afterthoughts of lead singer Kenny Chambers' own voice-on-voice overdubs on Burning in Water. And on other songs, such as "Separate Hearts," Freeman's basslines take center stage, modulating with chorus and flanging effects in Cure-like intros and breaks. Chambers' guitars are still there, but at times his satisfyingly one-dimensional Angus Young/Pete Townsend/Ramones power chords of yore are offset by acoustic, clean electric, chorused, and backwards-tracked parts. Giordano opens up the band's sound to other possibilities on the record. He might have been encouraged by Chambers spreading his wings as a songwriter or vice-versa. Chambers still had one foot in his Boston's hardcore-scene upbringing, but more attention is spent on the melodic and layered side of pop and classic rock songwriting. The remaining nods to punk come in the eschewing of endless guitar soloing -- even when the timing seems to be begging for it (and he was fully capable of torrid leads, as heard in his contributions to the band Bullet Lavolta) -- and in the shorter bursts of rage and bombast than the extended anthems of Burning in Water. [Both of the first two LPs were packaged together on a 1993 CD.]
~~ by Bill Janovitz

Tracks
1.FALLING
2.BRAVE NOISE
3.NOTHING CHANGES
4.THINGS ARE GOING BY
5.CARCRASH
6.SEPARATE HEARTS
7.INSTRUMENTAL #3
8.IN THE WAY
9.2500 CLUB
10.INTO THE FOREST
11.JUNE 7TH
12.THROUGH THE DOOR
13.LIGHTS
14.THE OTHER SIDE
15.FAITH
16.LET ME KNOW WHY
17.SHAPE OF SOMETHINGS
18.LESS THAN GRAVITY
19.ALMOST CERTAIN DRONE
20.URBAN DUB
21.ALWAYS CALLING
22.UNDERGROUND
23.MTV
24.FUNTIME
25.UNTITLED
26.THIS WORLD
27.SQUARES AND CIRCLES

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