We Shot The Moon doesn’t have the mass appeal to ever become a household name, but their pleasant and softer brand of alternative rock will appeal to those with an affinity for piano-heavy songs. Jonathan Jones carves the way through each bouncy and lighthearted track with clear-cut vocals and exuberant piano, while still rising to each heartfelt and reflective moment with appropriately ardent singing and emotive notes on the keyboard. The simple guitar-bass-drums lineup backing Jones manages to give each song its necessary verve, but never overextends past the band’s satisfying soft rock prowess. With the release of their debut album, We Shot The Moon showcases their ability to create compelling songs without ever raising the volume too high, making them a welcome addition to the piano rock family. Fear And Love is consistent throughout and has just enough variety to remain engaging until the end, although the album will do little for those looking for something more exciting or innovative than run-of-the-mill piano rock. However, for those looking for relaxing, genuine and easily accessible alternative rock, it doesn’t get much more enjoyable than We Shot The Moon’s Fear And Love.
“Sway Your Head” immediately showcases Jones’ talent for crafting nifty little piano melodies to perfectly support the lighter style of alternative rock. Trevor Faris provides a calm yet upbeat rhythm on the drums, while Paul Wheatley and Nathan Scott supply some mundane but ultimately agreeable guitar chugging, resulting in a simple but impressive final product that is unmatched anywhere on Fear And Love. Each buoyant chorus emits pure cheer and contentment, displayed best by Jones’ optimistic encouragements: “You gotta pull yourself back together / Give it one more shot / It’s now or never / With a new day calling for you / You gotta believe.”
Although none of Fear And Love‘s 12 tracks are fast-paced, “Perfect Time” slows things down even more for a ballad that gives a glimpse of the band at their most sincere and emotional. The faint sound of a ticking clock and a soft keyboard melody start things off before Jones and his piano builds the intro’s momentum with the help of Faris’ drumming gradually increasing in volume. This soon turns a seemingly quiet ballad into a bluesy rock ballad, complete with power chord-heavy guitar chugging and Jones’ elevated vocals. The piano and Matthew Doughty’s deep bass hooks give the song its sensitivity, while the escalated chorus gives it more emotion as Jones pours his heart out: “You are, you are the only one for me / I’ve tried for years to get this right / And I’m not about to lose this fight.”
“Hope” boasts one of the best choruses of the album thanks to one of Jones’ finest vocal performances backed by (comparatively) heavier guitar chugging, constant drumming and background harmonizing vocals. Jones’ voice fluctuates between his normal range and high-pitched coos, lending to the song’s earnestly accepting and optimistic tone as the album begins to wind down. Meanwhile, the reflective guitar riffs help convey the urgent message within the lyrics of holding on to hope despite life’s challenges (I’m ready to live / I’m ready to dream / I’m ready for fear, and love and everything between”) but still keep things pleasantly optimistic.
From the heartfelt and piano-heavy bluesy rock of “Julie” to the lighthearted alternative influence of “FTP,” We Shot The Moon offers an easygoing but genuine listening experience for anyone with a taste for piano rock. Fear And Love doesn’t contain the zest or flair to gain larger exposure, but it does have the emotion and joviality to make it endearing to those fortunate enough to discover it. We Shot The Moon doesn’t excite or amaze with their debut album and most of the guitar riffs and drum schemes are too simplistic to impress, but the band does manage to win over their audience with their outright sincerity, a lighthearted and optimistic tone, and an appealing brand of piano-influenced soft rock. Fans of Sherwood, Waking Ashland, Holiday Parade, A Rocket To The Moon, Avalanche City, Jack’s Mannequin, The Fray, Between The Trees and Artist Vs. Poet should be right at home with We Shot The Moon’s terrifically relaxing and simple debut, which the band has yet to match in terms of quality and mood.
Final Score: 7.9/10
Rank: 1st (four total albums)
- Water’s Edge
- Sway Your Head
- Perfect Time
- Tunnel Vision
- On Your Way
- Upon Waking She Found Herself A Cougar
- In The Blue
- Please Shine