Camp Counselor Kyle Spends the Holidays with moe. [ALBUM REVIEW]

It goes without saying and there are no reminders needed that 2020 has been one of the most challenging years we have collectively experienced. However, even with all the darkness, I have found light and good in many things by slowing down and having a greater appreciation for the small things in my life. If you are reading this, you are most likely like me; a Summer Camp and music lover. As a result, I was pretty amped when I found out moe. was putting out a new EP titled, “Not Normal”. 

As a dude growing up in Buffalo, I had always heard about moe. prior to having any knowledge of what a “jam band” was. Buffalo offers free concerts every summer downtown on Thursday nights. As a highschooler, it was finally my time to check these guys out that many friends had constantly recommended. My first true jam show and I was hooked. All of my thanks and praise goes to moe. for introducing me to the jam world; something that would change my life forever. Telling that story would be a story of it’s own. Fast forward many years later to November 2020; moe. releases, “Not Normal”. 

I’m sure everyone’s take on this is a tad different; however I love that first initial listen of an album. Much like reading a book, it really paints a vivid picture for me as I listen. That picture eventually changes over time as you become familiar with the songs. My first listen of Not Normal was while on a weekend trip to the Thousand Islands in New York. It was such a great place to have the inaugural spin. First off, 2020 has pretty much canceled any plans and trips I had hoped for. Having that weekend with rare warm weather for November was something I didn’t take for granted. To help you visualize it, we had a cabin on a peninsula; literally water surrounding me. It was finally time to give this project a listen while cooking up some burgers. 

I have love for many bands; however moe. has always been different for me.

The best way to describe them in one word; home. Even listening for the first time, it provides a warm, comfortable and familiar feeling. They really are one of those bands that you always know will produce quality music, both studio and live. Starting things off to a great pace, you have the song “New Hope For The New Year” – which I feel we can all agree on that title alone. My favorite part of this song comes in the 2nd half; the lyrics “on our way to the future” along with Jim’s xylophone raging in the background. It resonates with me. 

“Pill Vacation” is the second song up and it has a really cool groove to it. A catchy chorus followed with a super dreamy instrumental bit about halfway through. The instrumentals during that part really cap off the lyrics and vibes of the song perfectly. It almost has an eerie sound to it, followed by an ending that showcases some dope guitar work. The song flows perfectly into “ATL”; a classic sounding moe. tune. ATL has everything I love about moe. – the lyrics, the drumming, the guitar work, mid song build up; I could go on and on. Next is “Screaming and Kicking”. Listening to the intro of the song amps me up. It’s the kind of song I picture being the perfect 2nd set opener. It starts off with the right energy. Another line that really stood out to me from that song is “united we stand, divided we’ll fall”. To end this quick 34 minute EP is Prestige Worldwide. This track is a perfect way to end it. The quick guitar solo a couple minutes in; it’s slow and steady.. then about half way, the song hits another dreamy instrumental. The final and closing lyrics to end the album is the appropriate and titular: “we are not normal”. 

For a short EP, moe. really nailed this. Having already been out for a month at the time I’m writing this, I have already given the deserved amount of listens and will continue adding it to my playlists. If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend throwing on some headphones, slow down and just appreciate it. In a year where there hasn’t been much good news, at least we still have good music coming out. Beyond it all, I can’t wait to hear these songs LIVE on the Moonshine Stage with all of you. Be good and stay safe. Cheers, until next time. 

Camp Counselor Kyle