And the Moneynotes – New Cornucopia

And the Moneynotes
New Cornucopia

Last year when this band was still called Dr. Horsemachine and the Moneynotes a debut album, This Year We Hunt, was released. I more than enjoyed the group’s everything but the kitchen sink style and the disc even made it on to my “Top 10 Albums of 2007” list. Not only did I find This Year We Hunt to be a really great album, my enjoyment of it was immediate. From first listen I was attached to that CD. So when the band’s latest effort, New Cornucopia arrived I was more than excited to check out the new music. Problem was I couldn’t sink my teeth into the songs as quickly, so it took me more time to digest and appreciate.

Let’s just say New Cornucopia is a grower, not a show-er.

And the Moneynotes’ sophomore release finds the band cutting out the chuff. The music is still fun and varied, but there is more focus. While This Year We Hunt offered up an exercise in opposites (at least style-wise) that was somehow held together with the speed at which the group seemed to be moving collectively, this new album has more subdued moments and seems to have an overall greater attention paid to the finer nuances of songwriting. Maybe this is the result of some personnel changes, but I’d like to think this is the beginning of a good band maturing into a great band.

New Cornucopia still pays attention to a variety of genres (hence the apt title), but I guess the feeling produced by each change – from the sunny pop of “Bolinda” to “The Gimp”‘s country loping – is much more cohesive. Among the thirteen tracks there are still plenty of strange lyrics (“My Kid Smokin”, “The Moonshine”, or “The Amazing Properties of Chauncey Brown” for starters) and all around quirkiness, and maturing definitely doesn’t mean getting boring or blah. And the Moneynotes’ upbeat numbers are still the meat of the group. While some of the first few songs fit this bill, it was “My Kid Smokin” that first solidified my love for this disc. “A Pirate’s Confession III” doesn’t remind me of its predecessor on This Year We Hunt, but this tune is just as infectious. In fact, infectious melodies are what make And the Moneynotes songs so damn good. If you you like to move or sing along, but aren’t looking for traditional pop arrangements this Scranton, PA band could just fill the void.

New Cornucopia will easily be one of my favorite albums of the year. The one’s that take a bit of time to absorb into my system always do. And the Moneynotes isn’t really a traditional band in any sense of the word, so those looking for some sort of technical perfection or scenester cred should maybe move right along. I think the freaks and geeks – as well as anyone with a slightly warped sense of humor and a love for decent music – will get a kick out of And the Moneynotes.