waves returning to the shore in Waikiki, NYC's Moonlighters
are back with their second CD, Hello Heartstring.
Like their debut album, Dreamland, this new release
features The Moonlighters' original blend of Hawaiian
melodies, hot jazz, honkytonk blues, slow ballads, and
Hello Heartstring, the band proves its obvious
affection for old time Hawaii on standards "Beyond
the Reef" and the ever-popular "Hawaiian War
Chant" (done as a medley with "Me, Myself &
I"). Their hot-jazz covers of "Moanin' Low"
and "Ain't No Sweet Man Worth the Salt of My Tears"
are toe-tappin" fun. "Stirred by a Spoon"
and "Mississippi" show the connection between
western blues and Hawaiian music, mostly due to Henry
Bogdan's lilting steel guitar and Bliss Blood's manic
ukulele (which makes just about any song sound Hawaiian).
The Moonlighters' original numbers "Twilight Flight"
and "Mighty Fine" authentically mimic the spirit
of old blues and Tin Pan Alley songs, such as "Don't
Know if I'm Coming or Going" and "Hummin' to
Myself", which they also cover on this CD.
of the songs here evoke the sweet melancholy of lost love
and loneliness, which not only reflect the band¹s
interest in Depression-era ditties, but also betray their
musical past (Bogdan was in Helmet, while Blood was in
Houston's Pain Teens). Leaving their punk and indie-rock
days behind them, The Moonlighters now channel the harmonic
voices of The Boswell Sisters, the arrangements of Dick
McIntire and Johnny Pineapple, and the guitar playing
talent of Hawaiian legends King Bennie Nawahi, Bernie
Kaai, and Jack de Toro.
is clearly not the leiied-back Hawaiian music of Don Ho
and Arthur Lyman. In fact, The Moonlighters' music is
so authentic to the 1920s and '30s sound that you'll catch
yourself anticipating the pops and crackles from the 78s
in which they find inspiration. By the end of the CD,
you'll find you can't stop humming or tapping your feet
to their seductive blend of island charm. Aloha!