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Review: Everything, Now!'s "Do It On the Moon"

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Everything, Now!
Do it on the Moon
Holy Infinite Freedom Revival

With Do It on the Moon, Everything, Now! continues to slide around between genres—from straight rock, to stomp blues, to rockabilly, to country western—so well that they’ve actually earned the right to coin their own genre. Calling themselves “space gospel,” they’ve honed in more sharply on some of the same themes that they covered on their most recent full length, Spatially Severed (2008), and essentially created a concept album. What’s the concept? It's an exploration of futuristic, post-Christian spirituality; their songs are packed with religious jests and references to the point of obsession. Lead singer and songwriter Jon Rogers talks directly to Jesus and God. The Devil crawls out of a television set. All while Rogers takes on some rather weighty spiritual questions and makes some oddball predictions about the future, predictions which may not be that far-fetched.

To the outsider, it might seem like the band is trying to tear down the walls of the religion in which they’ve obviously been steeped. However, it’s more than that. Like many people in this world, it seems they’re searching for a new spiritual road that’s less structured and more purely humanistic than the institutions in which they were raised. This attitude seems best encompassed by the chant, “We don’t want anything/we don’t need anything but love/Love, love, love,” from the song “Heavenly Father,” the last song on the vinyl version of the album.

That song, incidentally, starts out with Rogers asking, in a pure, sweet tenor wail:

“Heavenly father won’t you give me a lift
Cause you’ve got that big Rolls Royce
And all I’ve got’s the drift, of the wind
To tell me where to go.”

It’s almost an echo of Janis Joplin asking the Lord to buy her a Mercedes Benz, in the song by the same name. Somewhat like Joplin, Everything, Now! combines country and rock, but E,N! plays with rhythm in different ways; where Joplin took a dusky, blues direction, E,N! are pure rockabilly. Set “Mercedes Benz” to a more structured rhythm and it could easily be morphed into an Everything, Now! song.

The opening cut “Why Believe” is a driving, stomp-blues anthem that asks the question “Why do people believe in rock and roll?” With its big kick drum rhythm and joyous, campfire singalong ebullience, it serves as an introduction to this album; the listener will get your eardrums rocked, but they will also be besieged by more thought provoking observations than they can properly handle in one, or two, or even three listenings.

If “Why Believe” is the moment of blast off, the second track, “Over and Away”, is the moment that this album breaks Earth’s atmosphere and goes into orbit. With spacey notes and sound effects, this track has a light, weightless quality about it; it is the moment precisely after the G-shock has dissipated and the astronauts find themselves in zero gravity for the first time. “Over and Away" is just about as psychedelic as this album gets, and I almost would’ve liked E,N! to have gone a little more in this direction.

The following cut, “2040,”, is another one of the great moments of this album. It’s a stomping song, and one on which E,N! demonstrate their gift for using a wide variety effects like handclaps and chants and beat changes to give a song texture and make it actually go somewhere; this album is nothing if not a journey. This particular song is a trip into the not-so-distant future:

“In 2040 Russia owns the beaches where the icecaps used to be
And China has moved to the moon with fortunes from all those lead factories.”

“Did It On The Moon” is undoubtedly the peak of this album. Not only is it in the middle and the album’s eponymous track, it’s also probably the most complete musical statement; it’s broken up into different rhythmic sections that rotate while building toward a dramatic, almost theatrical climax of charging, rising guitar riffs. It feels like yet another blast-off is taking place, from space into yet another bizarre dimension.

“Saint A.M. Gold” is a sweet, folky kind of song with a ukulele part; it’s another moment when the album departs into a different musical space and time. It opens with the lyrics:

“When you were a child like me
you sat too close to the goddamn TV
And your eyes burst open suddenly
but you liked all the new things you saw,”

The song explores the simultaneous awakening from childhood bliss and the loss of innocence of adulthood.

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