By Christopher Aloysius Mariotti, of lonesomenoise.com
Goodnight Blue Moon is tethered to the sea. Whether it be the barnacle-riddled shells on the cover of their excellent new EP, A Girl I Never Met, or the songs themselves, there is yearning for the balance of what the sea can bring: both tumult and rebirth.
The New Haven, Conn. septet (Erik Elligers on vocals and guitar, Nancy Matlack-Elligers on cello, Matt Crowley on mandolin, Sean Elligers on trumpet, Carl Testa on upright bass, Nick D’Errico on drums, and Vicki Wepler on violin) composed a collection of songs that ebb and flow through myriad emotions harbored in short, precise movements, wondrous in its crystalline design.
“Hollow” begins gently, with acoustic guitar and bass, joined by cello, then trumpet, then mandolin, then voice. Elligers enters with “Turn the record on,” sounding like an awesome amalgamation of Jeff Mangum and Paul Simon. The string melodies swirl together in counter to the straight-forward folk arrangement, with sunny vocal harmonies adding gravity to the chorus.
“Captain’s Church” is a sea shanty, with the kick drum initiating the continuous beat as if an anchor, while a bell rings to call in the rest of the band. It’s the most engrossing song on the EP, with chanting vocals and brilliant violin runs. It has you stomping your foot with each downbeat, singing along while D’Errico’s percussion builds and rises like the tides.
“Baby” plays like a folk-arranged Harry Connick Jr. ballad, with its beautiful chorus, as Elligers sings “I am lost without you by my side.” The various accompanying instrumentation adds layers to a song you could see being sung by a man to his lover on the dock with only an acoustic in hand. “Ballad of Jeanne Christine” swims in the sombre, hoping for a light: “Look for the blue sky just beyond the gray.”
“Darlin'” follows in jaunty and joyous celebration, as bluegrass, and fun, as it gets on the record. “Hangman” closes things out, with Elligers channeling the best of Paul Simon’s melodic voice, singing about how “out there in the distance is a girl I never met.”
Goodnight Blue Moon has quite successfully put together a collection of superb songs synchronous with one another, leaving for a perfect “press-play and listen through” EP, perhaps for one drifting along to the dance of the sea.
Don’t just take this reviewer’s word for it. Listen to A Girl I Never Met on the band’s Bandcamp page. It’s also available on iTunes. Click here to view the video for the lead single (a personal favorite), “Captain’s Church.” You can also follow Goodnight Blue Moon on their Facebook page.
(The original, unabridged article can be found at lonesomenoise.com)