Photo: Victoria Rich

by Philip H. Farber

SOUND ADVICE - May 5, 1999

ALBUM: "Moths"
LABEL: MMG/Wagon Train Records
RATING: 4 out of 5 stars

While modern rock radio has shifted toward lightweight songwriter pop, or folk-influenced hip-hop, its nice to know that there are some bands out there who can still crank out good, original, energetic rock tunes.

Case in point, the Moths, a quartet hailing from the metropolis to the south, who released a debut album on the Tannersville-based Wagon Train Records in 1997.

Moths are neither fluttering nor lightweight. On their self-titled album, they blast out 10 great songs that are simple in structure, but powerful in execution. Strong lead guitar complements a driving rhythm section. Vocals are strident and passionately delivered with lyrics about cabbies, people who should never get together, beer, art school, and someone named "Big Mike." The songs veer into some solid bridges that make one suspect that these guys can jam out a bit in a live setting. Even in the midst of their power rocking, melodic qualities maintain their flow, sometimes in surprizing ways.

Did I say there were 10 songs? That's what's listed on the liner notes. Keep listening after the 10th track though - there's a hidden track that reveals another dimension to this band. Its a Latin American folk tune, sung in Spanish, and it is a pretty near flawless rendition. They rock that tune with the same kind of energy as their pop tunes, and it comes off really well. The guitar solo on that cut is worth the album price alone.

Moths play regular gigs in Manhattan venues including CBGB's, Brownies and The Charleston Bar & Grill, among others. This Saturday evening they will be taking their show to the north for a concert at Valentine's at 17 New Scotland Ave., in Albany.

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