Moving Targets – Wires / Humbucker (Boss Tuneage / Dead Broke Rekerds, 2020)

Moving Targets are a power trio from Boston, originally formed in 1982. They put out their debut full length album in 1986 and then put out four more albums via Taang!, the last in that run being in 1993. They never had any major commercial success, but they were pretty well established on the underground scene. That was largely paraphrased from Wikipedia as it turns out I was thinking of a totally different band when Tony asked me to review it!

The past is the past though, and this is now, so let’s see if these new records stand up. First up is May 2020’s ‘Wires’ which sees a new line up fresh off the back of a comeback tour the year before. It’s got the sort of sound you would associate with US Alternative of the late 80’s, sort of Husker Du meets early REM, which is by no means a bad thing.

The music veers from jangly alt pop to pretty driving punk whilst the vocals meander over the top. It’s something that works pretty well; sort of like The Pixies in places. There’s quite a lot of tambourine going on and a fair bunch of wayward lead guitar breaks.

It’s doesn’t really offend me, but at the same time there aren’t any great songs jumping out at me, which is something all of the other bands I mentioned always had. Perhaps there are a few bangers in the back catalogue and I’m intrigued enough by this to go seek them out. By that measure, if you are already a fan, you’ll probably like it, but it’s not quite there for me. I think it sounds a little too of its time for a first time listener.

Note from Tony of Nurgle: I think of the two albums presented in this review, I admittedly prefer Humbucker. Which isn’t to say this is a bad record by any means. I think for me, with Wires I was getting a kind of feeling of that sort of Replacements thing that Beach Slang had going on. Only perhaps not realised quite so well. I also had this weird inescapable thing in my head that put me in mind of certain cuts from that Lemonheads LP, Car Button Cloth, and also this band called The Break that only about 3 people ever seem to have heard of. 7/10

On we go to September 2020’s ‘Humbucker’. I’m not sure if I’ve just got to their sound as I’ve done these back to back, but it sounds slightly more modern, which doesn’t really improve things for me. I think the problem is what was alternative back in the late 80s early 90s became a pretty mainstream sound. Everything is starting to blur into one big song now, like a never ending Weezer album track.

Again there’s nothing really wrong with it, it really doesn’t offend me, but at the same time it absolutely doesn’t inspire me either. It could seem a little unfair of me, but if you are already a fan and have an existing rapport with the band, then you might find Humbucker to be a tasteful maturing; but, it’s just left me a little cold.

Note from Tony of Nurgle: if stuff in the sonic realms of Doughboys, Mega City Four and The Bomb are your trip, then I think that you will get a good deal from this LP. In places it also reminded me somewhat of a less meandering version of the more recent output of Dinosaur Jr. What can I say, I obviously like this more than Bundie! 8/10

These LPs are available on yellow and silver vinyl respectively from Dead Broke Rekerds in the US and on CD from Boss Tuneage in the UK (the vinyl versions of both sold out in the UK).

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