Actually let’s give Cherry Red a handclap for reissuing Moose‘s first album …XYZ. It’s no secret about this blog’s love of the band Moose, but it is a little known (actually unknown) fact that I was this close to naming this blog Theme From Ace Conroy, a b-side to the Moose single Little Bird. I thought better of it, but only because the Finest Kiss has a better ring to it. A while back I did a short interview with Russel Yates where he mentioned a best of that was in the works, but there was no hint of reissuing the band’s amazing debut album at the time. Back in 1992 when the album originally came out on Virgin subsidiary Hut records it was hands down my favorite record of the year. The album received good reviews on its release, but got labeled with a country tag that seemed to turn the kids off to what was a former shoegaze band. The direction of …XYZ was only hinted at in the initial trilogy of EP’s (Jack, Cool Breeze & Reprise) that preceded the album, and to some people it was too much of a 180 degree turn for such a young band that they seemed to shed fans overnight . The good reviews were more than warranted though, it was a beautifully constructed album with guitars, strings, brass, and whistling. I remember thinking that having Mitch Easter (Let’s Active) to produce the album seemed like an odd choice, but after hearing the record and the new direction in their sound I realized what a brilliant decision it was. According to the liner notes Mitch Easter worked on the record in his birthday suit, though he decided to put some clothes on to mix the record. This album easily ranks up in my top ten of all time.
The new Cherry Red edition contains bonus tracks like all reissues should. The bonus tracks cherry pick the best songs from the three ep’s that preceded the album, but unfortunately leave out the b-sides from the Little Bird single (the only single released from the album) and the limited edition 7 inch that came with initial copies of the vinyl version. The 7 inch contained two covers, Colourbox‘s The Moon Is Blue and Gordon Lightfoot’s Early Mornin’ Rain. It’s kind of a shame that the b-sides on the reissue aren’t totally comprehensive, but just having this unheralded classic back in print for anyone who may have missed it the first time around is a massive feat in and of itself!
mp3: Moose – Little Bird (Are You Happy In Your Cage)? – The drop dead perfect single from the album. mp3: Moose – Theme from Ace Conroy – b-side to Little Bird and the song that nearly named this blog. mp3: Moose – The Moon is Blue – Colourbox cover that appeared on a 7 inch that accompanied initial copies of the …XYZ vinyl. Buy the record from Cherry Red.