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JD Moon – Time Ghosts (Review)

SondorBlue had a rich sound. The hit track, “The Moon and You” is an embodiment of the substantially grandiose performance that they forever strived for, which can also be found throughout their limited, but prolific, discography. They opened for Tank & The Bangas on NPR’s Tiny Desk Tour stop in Charleston, as well as being highlighted in Atwood Magazine and Pop Dust. In a way, SondorBlue had all the momentum within grasp, but then everything succumbed to an abrupt stop, leaving us to pick up the debris. From that came the birth of a solo album by former vocalist and bassist, Andrew Halley, under the stage name JD Moon. 

While searching for SondorBlue on Bandcamp, the bio listed on the website states that they are a Charleston band “Compromised of three exceptionally talented vocalists who could easily front their own bands.” Not only has this exposed itself to simply be a failed marketing tactic for them to gain more streams, it foreshadowed the eventual curtain call for the now non-existent band. According to the bio, stating that any of the vocalists “could easily front their own bands”, former vocalist and bassist, Andrew Halley, has taken his turn at proving the validity of this statement, and it ceases to be completely accurate.

JD Moon (Andrew Halley) has a great voice. The rhythm he can infuse into music with his angelic calling is something to look at with the utmost praise. But, Halley’s voice can only do so much for him on Time Ghosts. The opening track, “Pool Party”, offers to be a gratitude of Summer and youthful relationships by having an accompanied calmingly mystic piano, seated alongside Halley’s voice. Although, as the song progresses, the attentiveness of the song becomes more and more discreet, as there are forced and unnecessary transitions that make it difficult to grasp onto any mere portion of the song.

Again, Halley sounds as good as ever, but it becomes visible that the lyricism coinciding with his voice is forced to a caliber that is absent-minded. “Is this what summer’s for / A time to explore / On the golf Course / Backs on the grass / The smoke and stars pass.” The rhythm of his voice on the majority of the album seems rushed, in a sense. Halley comes off as if he is *trying* to finish a song, and the product becomes a well-produced track with haphazard lyricism and vocals. Other songs such as “What You Mean” and “Cahuenga Days” also follow suit with an uncanny similarity in regards to lyricism.

From a production point of view, this album has minimal flaws. The mixing is superb and the sound has no trace of any sound pockets. Although there is a nostalgic and oneiric rhythm found weaved throughout the album, Halley makes the magnetic sound become simply a one-dimensional experience, making the sound even more banal. The highlights of this record have everything to do with the production; the lows have everything to do with the ambiguous continuity of Halley’s voice solidified with the rather misplaced production opportunities. Comparisons are odious, but it must be stated that Halley with SondorBlue had a more concrete understanding of his voice in relation to the sonic movement of the band. Thus, the final product released by JD Moon is muddled and disordered.

Overall, Time Ghosts is widely underwhelming and disappointing. The confined excitement that was warranted following the breakup of SondorBlue made it all the more interesting to see where each band member would find themselves. Consequently, that excitement has been diminished to a minimal landscape, where Halley’s voice doesn’t carry a song like it used to, and we begin to scavenge for clarity in his songwriting abilities. As the bio for the band has been previously stated, Time Ghosts lacks insufficient evidence proving any sort of proof that he could “front his own band.” And with that, here we are picking up the debris, after the dust has finally settled.