Martin Courtney: Many Moons (Domino) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Wednesday, January 20th, 2021  

Martin Courtney

Many Moons

Domino

Oct 23, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Real Estate frontman Martin Courtney's solo debut, Many Moons, immediately announces itself as the finest side-project from a member of the band's camp. However, that's the only thing this record does do instantaneously. You could listen to the album-opener "Awake" about a dozen times before Courtney's languid soloing suddenly strikes you as an essential part of the composition. This slowly blossoming set of songs is brimming with such moments, which gradually reveal their beauty only through repeat listens.

Relative to Real Estate's work, the headphone-cushioning Many Moons features crisper production (courtesy of Woods' Jarvis Taveniere) and tighter yet fuller arrangements, embellished with strings, organs, and even the occasional flute. Despite mild cosmetic dissimilarities, Many Moons is in dialogue with Real Estate's Atlas, if not an outright companion piece to the band's latest and most refined album. Both records are defined by the continual push-pull of anxiety and tranquility, and the need to reconcile nostalgia with the desire to move forward. As Many Moons ambles through plush paisley-folk and pastoral psychedelia, Courtney largely remains in his wheelhouse, creating jangling, mid-tempo guitar pop that almost seems to be working to conceal just how quietly revelatory it is.

"It all comes into focus/The minute you relax your eyes," Courtney observes over the Byrds-ian gleam of "Focus." It's an apt analogy for an album that's meant to be absorbed and savored over time rather than quickly consumed, analyzed, and forgotten. It all sounds good now, but you somehow get the sense it'll be even better when you dust it off a few years down the road while looking for something particularly soothing. This quality is common to Courtney's songwriting in general; it's background music that lingers in your subconscious until you suddenly realize how much you need it in your foreground. (www.facebook.com/iammciv)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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