Garry Foster (UK) http://wcrfm.com/
“…one of those albums you put on, crank up, then sit back my comfy sofa and I go Ahhh this is what it’s all about.”
Symphonic melancholy. Damn! If it sounds this intelligent, this enticing and this beautiful then please go right ahead and sign me up. Patrick Molesworth’s debut album is an elegant, refined and frankly quite magnificent tour de force of musical finesse and ingenuity. Every element of this album, from the booklet, the production values, to the music itself, exudes a beguiling class and softly captivating charm.
Intuitive, discerning lyrics wrestle with the idiosyncrasies of life, carry emotional resonances which echo our ceaseless struggles to make sense of personal experiences and reach out to grapple with our sense of who we are during the time spent on this earth. Yet the spectacular achievement of this album is that, initially at least, you barely notice as the seductive allure of the silky-smooth music caresses, envelops and enfolds you.
The comforting welcome of this warm musical embrace brings with it an almost reassuring feeling of recognition which goes some way in creating this sense of symphonic melancholy. From the very beginning it feels like spending time with a dear and trusted friend who you haven’t seen for a while. Here melancholy is akin to reminiscence; a gloriously affirming and uplifting mood of pensive conversations on lazy summer days, wistfully shared memories as the mind roams, perfectly at ease, buoyed and transported by the music.
Nor is it long before we meet an old friend face to face. Anyone who wants to learn the true art of homage can do no better than listen to Weight of the World. Beginning with a short but instantly recognisable musical phrase from Supertramp, by the time you hear it a second time, it has become transformed and adventurously turned into something new. This short track looks at the original idea and runs off in new directions, riffing, exploring, teasing and experimenting as it does so.
The development is poised and unruffled. It takes all the time it needs to get to where it wants to go. Melancholic homage becomes reverential nostalgia, enthralling, creative, inventive. Whilst lyrically there is a dabbling with the sense of the futility of what we do, musically we are treated to some fabulous bluesy, soulful solo guitar filling the musical spaces; listen carefully to what the drums are doing in the background, particularly toward the end, with some exquisitely playful tinkering with the cymbals and high-hat.
Living on the Water continues the same atmosphere but brings a different and more infectious rhythm to the party. The deceptively chilled guitar works only because of the wonderfully propulsive groove being laid down in the background, a compelling, urging, at times mesmerising swing which highlights a series of inspiring musical interactions.
The symphonic part of the melancholy shouldn’t be forgotten either. The ten tracks paint an adventurous canvass of overlapping but distinctive styles and genres, betraying an interesting variety of influences. The upbeat and instrumentally energetic Itchy Feet is a foot tapping groove which we meet again in a different guise in Tricks and Tragedy. Groove turns to a kind of proggy pop, highlighted in a spectacular sound stage where a guitar led repeated refrain exudes a sad mournfulness whilst building to a sombre crescendo before returning again to the same sense of energy first encountered on the opening track.
In between we have the easy, smoky, wistful Smile, a classic slow burner which leads to the most superb soaring guitar solo. The pace changes again for See Me Fly which has a sprightly jazz, almost improv vibe, in turn supported by a jaunty rhythm and joyful feeling of spontaneity. Note also the length: at 2.35, Molesworth is excellent at capturing the essence of the idea he wants to express and then moves on. Enjoy it for what it is: no need to linger, no need for excess.
Designer Crime announces another change of pace and mood. An upbeat tempo with great repeating keyboard soundscape offers a scathing social critique of cultural excess and pretence. Again, listen for some delightful teasing cymbal work. Across this album the drumming is nothing short of an absolute pleasure. Feel So Realslows the pace a little, darkens the mood but lights up the soundstage with a glorious set of guitar interjections and solos. The way keys and guitar unite to capture mood and atmosphere is enthralling.
It has taken me over a year to stumble across this remarkable little musical gem. Since doing so it has rarely been off my player. The sheer pleasure of the insights it offers whenever you listen, combined with the sublime musical elegance and sophistication it radiates, gives a deep feeling of satisfaction few other recordings can match. It is certainly my ‘must have’ album of the year.
Well-tempered debut by British band who may be prone to drama yet turn it into an aural spectacle.
Placing their first record a book-type packaging, this group insist they’re serious about the craft of music-making, and as a vehicle for Patrick Molesworth’s exercises the project’s inaugural offering won’t fail to impress – in a somewhat reserved, English way. “The world’s getting weary of my world weary voice,” he intones in a manner that should evoke Steve Winwood and Gary Brooker but, once the listener is pulled into the artist’s world, such weariness will result in a refreshing swirl of tunes.
Not necessarily piano-based, it’s undoubtedly a keyboard player’s record: the album driven by someone who’s able to run the gamut from boogie which is the root of instrumental opener “Itchy Feet” to progressive passages which fill the likes of “Feel So Real” – the latter piece stricken with a fragile, Latin-tinged vibe, while fusion oozes out of the brisk “See Me Fly” and breezy funk out of “Weight Of The World” to reflect the futility of a human effort. Birds’ chirps and crowds chat add cinematic aspect to these songs, even though symphonic elegance of “Smile” – where organ and guitar join in the soulful flow to solemnly skip the light fandango – or a soft, caressing, breezily orchestrated pop frill of “Living On The Water” don’t need outer decorations.
There’s a sense of urgency in “The Tick Tock” that is lucid and alluringly theatrical with its harmony solos and a choir, and in the ripple that rolls “Tricks And Tragedy” toward elation yet slows the pace down to render the piece too elegiac until Tony Dubinski’s six strings soar to the sky and the drift is sped up again, but Molesworth doesn’t shy away from spiking up “Designer Crime” with social critique. Still, the band are at their best, when given a chance to rock contemplatively and gently, as the majestic acoustic lace and orchestral wave behind “Out Of The Blue” could suggest, so their next album must project more restlessness. As for the self-titled start, it’s serious, indeed.
Music Waves (France) http://www.musicwaves.fr/default.aspx
Sometimes with the reading of magazines, walks on the net or social networks, some groups attract the eye and curiosity is irreparably captured because of the singularity of a name. Zeelley Moon falls under this observation. Quite unknown, especially in France, the English combo has already experienced several lives since its formation in 2010 by Pat Molesworth. After a change of line up in 2012 and a long and patient process of writing, the band released their first album of the same name.
Listen to Zeelley Moon’s album is an invitation to discover a wide range of styles built around the piano and glittering keyboards. Three of the titles on the album were composed in the early years of the group and give an indication of what defines the band’s music: a patchwork of pop, progressive soft, rock with an undeniable touch New York a little jazzy (the instrumental ‘Itchy Feet’) and bluesy.
‘Out Of The Blue’ testifies to all the science acquired by Pat in this melodic research that sticks to the skin of the group. The inaugural piano is reminiscent of Billy Joël’s finest hours, with bewitching keyboards, celestial orchestral notes and Pat’s broken voice coming to the forefront. The height of happiness, the first acoustic guitar accompanies the first steps to be better electric afterwards and conclude the title with a bewitching solo. Everything is refinement and delicacy, almost fragile, a porcelain music as evidenced by ‘Smile’, one of the oldest titles, terribly effective with this atmosphere bar New York, a little smoky, with nostalgic and melancholic spray.
One of the most consistent titles is undeniably ‘Tricks And Tragedy’ in that it seems to be the most progressive of all. After an opening always twirling at the piano which is the heart of the project, the atmosphere tends and becomes almost tragic with the masterful intervention of the guitar imbued with deep sadness, without falling into a disgusting pathos and dripping, for better then find the first positive movement.
However, confining this album to mid-tempo tracks is totally misleading because in the midst of this sophistication, the dynamic ‘Designer Crime’ brings a welcome energy embellished by a mutinous keyboard and its furiously groovy rhythm that accompany Pat’s voice with his intonations to the Sean Filkins, all reminiscent of the atmosphere of a good old Supertramp. Summum of this variety, ‘The Tick Tock’ brings its more bluesy climate with a more incisive guitar and inside that emphasizes more energetic vocal lines. These two titles bring a little more relief to the album which did not miss it already.
Do not miss out on this little gem of English craftsmanship, a sophisticated mix of pop jazzy with a relatively soft, progressive, melancholy, well-written and interpreted progressive tendency. There are sometimes blessed chances that will not disappoint you, if you are a little curious.
Sea of Tranquility https://www.seaoftranquility.org/reviews.phpop=showcontent&id=21346
Zeelley Moon is a UK band headed by singer/songwriter/musician Patrick Molesworth. This is their self-titled debut album. Joining Molesworth (piano, orchestral arrangements, lead and backing vocals) are Tony Dodd (bass), Geoff Bolam (bass, guitars), Tony Dubinski (electric and acoustic guitars), Nobby Birch (drums), Mike Bennett (drums), Manna Ash (drums) and Esta B Daley (backing vocals).
The band plays sophisticated pop rock with the occasional jazzy and progressive touch. If I was to cite a major influence it would have to be mid to late ‘70s Supertramp so if you are a fan of that band (of which I am) you really need to give this a listen. The melodies, musicianship and vocals are superb, and Molesworth’s piano motifs really bring that Supertramp sound to light. As stated in the press release Elton John and Billy Joel are influences a well.
The album begins with the instrumental “Itchy Feet”, a jazzy pop tune with tasty piano and guitar. They have a very polished sound which is really quite refreshing. “Smile” is a very nice pop rock ballad followed by the soaring “Tricks and Tragedy” with its supple orchestrations and lovely melody. The piano is a dead ringer for Supertramp. The vocals on the jaunty “The Tick Tock” is another highlight as is the Even in the Quietest Moments like ballad “Weight of the World”. It’s a lush tune and one of the album’s best. The melodic “Living on the Water” is another excellent pop rock tune.
Zeelley Moon have released one of the nicest surprises of 2018. Completely unexpected and out of the blue, I hope more music fans catch on to what this band has to offer. Easily recommended, especially for fans of you know who.
I have listened to this album many times in order to give a fair review. This is an intriguing album. There seem to be no fillers; every track helps to complete a narrative that, while slightly ambiguous, I get the feeling there is a bit of a story here. Somehow each track adds something to the over all experience. Even the longer songs do not out-stay their welcome.
Originally released in the UK July, 2017 and early 2018 in North America.
Musically Zeelley Moon falls in the Art-Rock or Melodic Progressive Rock category and displays a style of music that has some elements of bands like Supertramp and Pink Floyd.
In fact listening to a track like “Tricks and Tragedy” [5:52] you might be forgiven for thinking this is a long-lost Supertramp album. The upbeat piano starting us off but hidden in the middle of this track is a deep haunting instrumental passage is that gives me goose bumps.
The album clocks in at fifty-three minutes in total.
Pat’s piano and his writing are at the heart of the Zeelley Moon sound carving out some wonderfully melodic tunes.
And that’s the key to this band: they craft some very hummable, very catchy passages all the while injecting some very skilled musicianship. Themes come and go, never overstaying their welcome, returning just enough to be satisfying and keep you wanting. Fans of Supertramp, Pink Floyd, Genesis and maybe Yes may well appreciate the music of Zeelley Moon. While it draws from many influences, I believe it to be quite unique.
Tuneful with Polished Musicality; this is quite an intriguing album. Originally released in the UK last year, 2017 it finds it’s North American release here in mid-2018. Musically Zeelley Moon falls in the Art-Rock or Melodic Progressive Rock category and displays a style of music that has much in common with that of Supertramp and Barclay James Harvest. In fact listening to a track like “Tricks and Tragedy” [5:52] you might be forgiven for thinking this is a long-lost Supertramp album. And I mean that in a good way. Fact is it’s the up-front piano that makes that a thing. The ten compositions here clock in at fifty-three minutes with the bulk of the songs in that three to five minute range with a couple longer ones at seven and eight minutes. As I say, the piano plays a major part in the Zeelley Moon sound carving out some wonderfully melodic tunes. And that’s the key to this band: they craft some very hummable, very catchy passages all the while injecting some very skilled musicianship. Themes come and go, never overstaying their welcome, returning just enough to be satisfying and keep you wanting. Fans of the bands mentioned above will find much to appreciate with the music of Zeelley Moon. Its tuneful music with a lot of musicality layered throughout. I found myself enjoying it more and more with each listen. Check it out, you just might find yourself tapping your toes uncontrollably.
Despite feeling distinctly old today, I’m probably too young to remember the time when this kind of music was in vogue, and perhaps Zeelley Moon – Pat Molesworth and friends – are too, so this self-titled album may best be viewed as an affectionate tip of the modern day hat to the more indulgent ways of yesterday’s soft rock scene.
However, as the many rock revival festivals of today testify, there is still a market for this kind of music and it is to the credit of all concerned that this album is both easy on the ear and remarkably free of the clichés and irony that is usually the consequence of awaking the past from its slumbers.
The songs on this album seem, on the surface at least, casual affairs yet it is clear that, underneath it all, an appreciation of melody and depth drives things forever forward and even the longer songs, such as “Out of the Blue” at no less than 8 minutes, manage to avoid outstaying their welcome and retain our interest.
As a three minute pop song man myself, I therefore didn’t think I would find much on this album to please my notoriously fussy ears yet songs like “Designer Crime” and the soundtrack friendly “Living on the Water” proved to have a poise and maturity that was rather appealing.
Finally, it is also worth mentioning the packaging of this compact disc. True to the Zeelley Moon worship of the ways of the past, this album comes in a suitably luxurious 16 page digibook package for you to peruse whilst being transported on a journey by the music.
Gary Hill http://www.musicstreetjournal.com/cdreviews_display.cfm?id=106472
This album is so strong. The music here is of the melodic progressive rock variety. While quite a bit of it calls to mind Pink Floyd, there are other reference points that are not quite as prog oriented, too. At times you might hear Steely Dan as an influence. There is clearly a lot of jazz in the mix. I can even make out some Bob Welsh at times, too. This is just such a classy album.
This review is also available in book format (hardback and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018 Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by track……
A little bit of an announcer on the radio giving out some news starts this. The cut shifts from there to a little jam that feels like a prog rock take on something from the old Charlie Brown cartoons. This is fun, energetic and just classy. It’s also an instrumental. I really dig the melodic guitar soloing on this piece.
The sounds of nature start this track. Jazzy piano rises upward from there and the cut begins to evolve. Around the half minute mark some classy fusion sounds with killer retro prog stylings emerge to carry things. It continues to evolve from there, feeling at times a bit like Dark Side of the Moon era Pink Floyd. The vocals bring more of a soulful vibe. The soaring prog rock jam late in the track is so cool.
Tricks and Tragedy
Bird sounds begin this track. It works out from there with some killer musical textures. This again calls to mind Pink Floyd a little. There are also some jazzy textures here. This has a real melodic mainstream prog rock vibe. It’s accessible, energetic and really works well. There is some particularly noteworthy guitar work in some of the later instrumental stuff here. This really gets dramatic and powerful as it carries forward, but remains set in a melodic prog motif. I love the transition back into the song proper after the instrumental movement. That main song part seems to get an infusion of extra energy as it comes back into being.
The Tick Tock
There is a real time ticking away kind of vibe to this piece. Jazz, melodic progressive rock and more makes up the basic concept here. This one almost lands in a jazz vicinity, really. That said, there are enough prog elements and even things like 80s pop music built into this to keep it from becoming full jazz. There are some definite soaring moments at the heart of this musical beast!
See Me Fly
Piano brings this out of the gate. The cut grows outward from there with some soaring, driving sounds. It has some killer musical textures. This is another melodic prog piece, but it’s more energized than some of the rest. There are some particularly dramatic segments here.
Weight of the World
Also starting with piano, this gets into some rather symphonic and classical motifs as it builds upward. Eventually some guitar and synthesizer lead a drive toward a more prog rock based scenario. I really love the fast paced, soaring jam that ensues around the two and a half minute mark. It’s a powerhouse arrangement that really works very well.
There is almost a soulful vibe to the opening of this number. Keyboards drive it at first, but as a crunchy guitar rises up the tune twists more toward a prog rock kind of vibe. In some ways this a harder rocking piece than some of the rest. It’s high energy and so classy, too.
Living on the Water
I like this song a lot. There is a bit of a dreamy, trippy vibe to it. In a lot of ways it reminds me of the Bob Welsh era of Fleetwood Mac. Yet, it’s proggier than that at the same time. It is such a great number. The guitar solo again shines. That section brings a bit of that Pink Floyd reference again.
Feel so Real
A killer groove, this jam has a nice mellow prog vibe, but the guitar soars over the top at times bringing a more rocking edge. The organ solo later in the track lends some killer retro texture to the piece.
Out of the Blue
This comes in like a piano player is laying down some melodies in a crowded area. Some keyboards lace it as the crowd noise begins to drop back a bit. Then as it shifts to just piano again the crowd rises up again. Those non instrumental sounds drop away as the tune begins to take on song-like elements. The other instruments join after a bit and we’re out into another killer melodic prog jam. This is quite symphonic as it grows outward. It drops back a bit for the vocals to join, and it again makes me think of Pink Floyd just a bit. I particularly like the acoustic guitar soloing that comes in around the three and a half minute mark. At the end of the track a gentle melodic movement is joined by the sounds of the sea to close it.
Steve Petch (UK) http://theprogmeister.com/?s=zeelley+moon
At the heart of Zeelley Moon is boards man and singer Pat Molesworth’s original song writing exploits. Pat is a gigging muso in local bands and this comes across in his playing. I always appreciate the competence of seasoned musicians and this collection of ten mostly upbeat tracks is filled to it’s seems with them. Apart from Pat himself playing keyboards, piano, singing and orchestration, he has drafted in band mates and associates to add real guitars, drums and bass. Despite their lack of celebrity Pat and cohorts pack a mean punch and are as polished as bands who enjoy more notoriety. Pat has drawn from his passion for many different musical forms including Pop, Prog, Classical and even one of my favourites, soundtrack music. It shows too. Many of the compositions here possess a melange of styles and inspiration.
Zeelley Moon is a beautifully presented album. The CD is nicely packaged with a booklet containing some interesting images on which are printed the corresponding lyrics. The main theme behind the songs are the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Not the first album to adopt such a topic and likely as not won’t be the last. From the off in true Prog tradition the use of samples on this occasion a radio traffic update heralds the beginning of barn storming Itchy Feet. Once underway this piano driven instrumental had me thinking Allman Brothers! It certainly got things off to a great start and to a degree set the pace for the rest of the album. As the song fades to the sound of twittering birds the the first notes of Smile opens into a widescreen soundstage where Pat’s bluesy voice is backed with an equally bluesy organ. Manna Ash’s drums have a well captured live sound to them though it is the rather splendid guitar solo by Geoff Bolam that will win the hearts of Pink Floyd fans.
Once again Pat’s piano steams along like an express train with Tricks and Tragedy, which according to Pat should have been the name of the album as this song considering it’s lyrical content is the premise for the whole project. The middle section of Tricks and Tragedy has a guitar solo to die for and a credit to guitarist Tony Dubinski. What i found in general with the songs of Zeelley Moon is that they all have substance. there is little ambiguity containing lyrics easy to interpret. Clear messages are laid bare as in The Tick Tock which suggest living for today and the things we do for recreation can sometimes be interrupted by the things we need to sustain such pastimes like work etc. See Me Fly hints at insomnia or simply not being able to sleep because you’re wired and want to run a marathon. This may be self referencing on Patrick Molesworth’s behalf though it is the impression given by the cover art and the words. What See Me Fly majors on is pace and rhythm and certainly has my foot tapping. I do have to admit that i was a little confused by the track listing on the rear of the cover as the middle section of See Me Fly is the song weight Of The World which slows the pace a little and thanks to Tony Dubinski’s guitar licks puts Zeelley Moon into Camel territory before a reprise of the main theme.
Designer Crime puts the foot firmly back on the gas. With an electric piano that would not be out of place on any Supertramp album this song is not shy on grit turning as it does into quite a stomp courtesy of Geoff Bolam’s powerful guitar. Whether or not Designer Crime is a nod and a wink to Roger Waters is debatable though i suspect it is the result of one of the many musical and artistic influences evident in Pat’s canon. Further evidence of this is Living On The Water. This really is blues at it’s best with dreamy lyrics, some great synth and mean guitar. A joy to listen to. However, pushing my Pink Floyd comparisons to the limit Feel So Real is a treat on the ears. Geoff Bolam switching to bass he adds some scary subsonic moments the vibration from which travelled through my seat. It isn’t too long before Feel So Real turns into another great blues song with a blinding guitar solo though it is Pat Molesworth’s voice that make both the song and the album it’s individual flavour. Anyone who enjoys the music of Steve Winwood may well be at home here as Zeelley Moon bares all the hallmarks of his style. With all stops pulled out for the big finale, Out Of The Blue is a large scale production. Cinematic to the point of being epic, yet another of Pat’s influences being film scores. This song would sit nicely at the end of a movie so it is fitting that it brings to an end such an upbeat diverse sounding album. Even the sound of the waves crashing to the shore in the closing moments added to the fresh and breezy nature of Zeelley Moon.
With such a collage of styles included, I found Zeelley Moon as easy to listen to on the move as well as sat in front of my Hi-Fi system. There is certainly a feel good factor about this collection of songs and i genuinely felt uplifted following every play. I found it very easy to be enthusiastic an artist such as Pat Molesworth and supporting musicians because they represent true independence making good music without reliance on record companies and the music industry machine. I heartily recommend that you sound out this album. It really does hit the spot.
Russel Trunk, Ghost Canyon (US)
For those not in the immediate know, the music of Zeelley Moon is rather unique, to say the least.
Drawing from many influences and with a passion for many different musical styles, including prog, pop, classical and soundtrack, Zeelley Moon’s self-titled album (which also features the music, keyboards and vocals of Patrick Molesworth), has been acknowledged as having a weighty full sound, chock full of melodic rock, akin to Pink Floyd meeting Supertramp; with a bit of Genesis and Yes thrown in!
And having listened to this quite stunning new CD twice through now for this review, I have to say that I wholeheartedly agree!
This dynamic, not-one-genre of pure musical majesty features ten brand new, and diversely brilliant pop-rock vocal tracks along with one lead-off jazz-rock instrumental (‘Itchy Feet’) that brings to mind the progressive nature of Peter Frampton, the aforementioned (and one of my all-time favorite bands), Supertramp, and definitely the key work of Billy Joel.
The searing ‘Smile’ is a dutiful ode to those similar gone by down the years, with a Genesis-esque ‘Tricks and Tragedy’ (vocally, as well as musically) one of the stand out highlights here. That’s backed seamlessly by the vibrant ‘The Tick Tock,’ which itself is followed by the free-flowing gem, ‘See Me Fly.
Patrick Molesworth is one of the rising singer-songwriters and keyboardists on the current U.K. progressive music scene and his vocal deliveries here are second to none for this kind of music. Perhaps none more so than on the stirring ‘Weight of the World’ and the vibrant ‘Designer crime,’ both of which I’ve listened to, on repeat, four times now.
With an album containing thought-provoking lyrics dealing with different aspects of life, personal experiences, human nature, the passage of time and what Molesworth himself has called “symphonic melancholy”, next up is the delightful, late ’80s throwback ala Mike and the Mechanics, ‘Living on the Water.’
That, in turn, is backed by the prog / psych lite guitar blend of ‘Feel So Real’ with the album then, sadly, rounding out with ‘Out of the Blue.’ A piano cut of the highest order, it showcases just why Zeelley Moon are among the finest bands from England that rightfully carry the torch for 21st century pop-rock.
Zeelley Moon’s CD packaging also features hardbound book-like CD packaging, with excellent artwork complete lyrics and intriguing photography.
Zeelley Moon‘s first album sounds much more like it comes from a band that has been developing their sound for quite a while, not a newcomer.
I would describe it as prog/pop, similarly to what Supertramp were doing on Crime of the Century and their next two albums. In fact, on a few tracks, Zeelley Moon does remind me of Supertramp (i.e. Rudy and Fool’s Overture) but this feeling quickly goes away.
The songs are pretty much all in the 3 to 5 minutes range, with a few being mid-length. They are all ”song based” but always offer nice instrumental parts. The album is also peppered with a good number of guitar and keyboard solos.
Even though Zeelley Moon gives us 50+ minutes of music I never felt there was a filler. All the songs are very well written, composed and performed. It’s an album that is easy to get into, but also deserves repeated listenings.
Fans of Supertramp, Pink Floyd, Al Stewart and even Steeley Dan (at times) are sure to enjoy this one.