Single Of The Week: Wild Moccasins – Gag Reflections/Summer Of Love (New West)
By Mike Turner
This is a first for me where I am making a record Single Of The Week when the single itself isn’t exactly what I am flipping my lid over. Wild Moccasins will confuse a lot of the indie pop set, maybe not the casual fans but the folks who tend to work within the scene. Sure they have the right chords (playing) and chords (clothes), the right sound (jangle meets dream pop), the right songs (pop songs that all have hooks and don’t over stay their welcome). Now however we get to the “but” part of the review, the production takes so much of what makes them a good live band and just seems to leave it on the cutting room floor. Live, they bounce around and guitars get loud and frantic with the vocals soaring above the mix, but on the record everything is almost all at the same volume like it’s done so no one person in the band outshines the other. Then you have the fact they are on New West records which is mainly known to people in Americana and country circles and it’s puzzling how that pairing even came about. If the Wild Moccasins were on Slumberland, What’s Yr Rupture or Captured Tracks (they could fit well on any of the three), you’d already know who they were by now. The A-side of the single ‘Gag Reflections’ is an instant pop hit, the B-side ‘Summer Of Love’ is a B-52’s cover and somehow they pull it off making it sound like one of their own. Covering such a well-known band with a very distinct sound is always a risk, but they pull it off. The single is good, but mainly pick it up to learn the songs so you can enjoy them at the show where all the life is put back into them. I can hear their record collections in their songs, I can tell what books and movies they like from their dress, but some of the decisions like label and producer I’ll never understand. I know this might sound like I’m trashing the band, but it’s not. Wild Moccasins are by far one of the best indie-pop bands in all the of United States right now. I just wish more of the live energy and a bit of risk made it into the records. They are parts c86 a la Shop Assistants, tender jangle pop a la The Sundays, at times even a bit dreamy like Lush. I just want them to find their American side and fuck shit up bit and let loose.