One Big Night

Written by: DR on 30/05/2010 17:52:47

Hanalei’s eight year long career, thus far, hasn’t exactly been simple. From the conception in 2002 until two years later in 2004, it was the solo project of Brian Moss (you may know him from hardcore/punk bands such as The Wunder Years and The Ghost). From December in that year onwards it seems that switched between genres such as folkish indie/indie-ish folk to The Postal Service-esque electronica. Moss has since moved back to San Francisco and will be continuing Hanalei on his todd (slang for “own”). Sometimes he uses a laptop, but, out of respect for its privacy, it shall remain anonymous. “One Big Night” is the fourth full-length, and it marks another leap in style.

For Moss, that is; not for everyone else. Lord (or whichever god you subscribe to) knows that the music scene is hardly lacking in acoustic singer/songwriters, yet Moss will be joining the similar sounding masses anyway. Though he’s adopted a sound that’s far more suited to comparisons and all kinds of summer-based turns of phrase, fans of his earlier aggressive material won’t feel entirely alienated, especially with “Moth to the Flame” as it features his vocals adopting a more coarse and unhinged edge that actually brings to mind Aaron Weiss from mewithoutYou. He shows enough versatility however to hold your interest. From the aforementioned lo-fi no-holds-barred approach to acoustic, to the title track “One Big Night”. This, in line with the earlier promises on summer-themed sentences, begins the album like a cool breeze on a warm day because of the gentle vocals, light guitar-work and unassuming lyrics which all make for verses that are bound to have the listener singing along unbeknownst to themselves. Then there is “Rats” – one of two tracks to utilise the electric guitar – but the only one where it’s really driving, and the song stands out because of it. Other than one or two highly decent songs in between those moments of real quality, the rest bear little that identifies them as individuals rather than simply passing albeit pleasurable listening.

Nobody can deny that “One Big Night” is superior to the oodles of average-at-best so-called singer/songwriters who have some recording equipment and the knowledge of a few chords. But, overall it suffers too much from the jewels being too few and far between, which ultimately hinders Brian Moss’ chances of making the step up into the big leagues just yet.


Download: One Big Night; Rats; Moth to the Flame
For The Fans of: Kevin Devine; Dave Smallen; Right Away, Great Captain!
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 01.06.2010
Big Scary Monsters/Brick Gun

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