Night Moves – Colored Emotions

Subtlety is a skill that’s difficult to master, particularly for the eager to please, who are naturally more prone to overdoing things. Colored Emotions, the debut LP from Minneapolis quartet Night Moves, is a study in the importance of playing it cool. When the band reels in their ambitions, which they generally do, they’re kind of great. But the album’s excessive and indulgent moments indicate either self-consciousness or narcissism, and both can be equally rough on the ears.

“Headlights” is an unfortunate choice for the opener because of all the overzealous offenses, it might be the worst. See, Night Moves aims to blend country, folk and psych, and here the seams are hastily joined. Popular motifs of each genre – twang, harmonica, acoustic guitar, trippy vocals and drum like a powwow – are all made the centerpiece on a cake that sounds great in theory, but goes down like turpentine.

It’s not all so grandiose. “Only a Child” is tempered and simplistic, giving frontman John Pelant’s vocals, both pristine and bubbling, a chance to take the spotlight. The snowballing chorus of “Family Tongues” is leveled out by an immediate comedown, allowing room for a shimmering, swirling jam at the tail-end. And the penultimate “Classical Hearts” is a slow-moving, waterlogged prize.

While there’s a handful of winning numbers, Night Moves makes the too-much-at-once mistake a few too many times to forgive. And considering the lengthy, overly detailed bio they’re carting around, a well-meaning desire to impress probably isn’t the cause of these extravagant trip-ups. More likely it’s some musical manifest destiny at fault, which will fool some folks. But it’ll also alienate – and aggravate – a whole bunch of others.

Night Moves
Colored Emotions