We Shot The Moon’s first appearance on the vinyl format — Watchmaker Record Company’s reissue of their fourth full length album, Love On — is not only a good excuse for the return of longtime fans, but serves as a nice starting point for those looking to dive into the outlet and vision of primary and permanent member, Jonathan Jones. That vision is primarily of pleasant piano rock, effective in its aims, if a little unmemorable at times. Love On, in particular, does show off the best of Jones’ work, though, especially in the writing department. While the instrumentals often attached to We Shot The Moon can remind one of bands like The Fray and Augustana — in that they’re very much designed in the pursuit of airplay — it’s in the previously mentioned lyricism that Jones shines.
Songs like “Minute Hand,” the album opener, shows off some slick wordplay from the frontman, utilizing the clock hands in the depiction of just how fleeting love can be. And when he claims to be “running your race” while still coming “in second place,” he connects with many who have fought so hard for something, or someone, unobtainable. And while the former shows off Jones’ ability to write a big hook, “Araby (Lie #17),” is a bit more subdued, allowing for some more clever work from Jones to shine through. In a chorus reminding one of Andrew McMahon’s earlier work, Jones croons, “Tonight’s the night we collide,” before his “ooo’s” match the deep tone of the chosen keys. “How To Move On” is another standout, which while simplistic lyrically, is a song that just sounds “big” and is one that should have made it to those airwaves.
We Shot The Moon isn’t pushing pop rock to new heights, but their sound, demonstrated here by Love On, is finely tuned and well written. And in these warm, summer months, the voice of Jonathan Jones is a welcome sign for those who find themselves fans of this genre.
Besides some surface noise at the beginning of each side, the pressing is relatively clean, if perhaps a bit quiet. For example, the big instrumental moments in tracks like “Smile” and “Minute Land” are not as bright as they should be. Jones’ vocals do have the proper depth, though, echoing through my living room, while the lower end of his key work has a nice thump to it. And the percussion, which I’ve damned on quite a few recent releases, comes through nicely. The pressing is probably on par with a digital version, though, so no big improvement.
The 12″ record is housed in a standard jacket, which while not made of the sturdiest material, should last you quite a while. A lyric insert is also included in the package, but the quality lost in the jacket is made up here, with sturdy, photo quality paper. Also of note, Watchmaker includes a letter with your purchase, thanking you for the support, while explaining why there are multiple references to a “Random Tangent Records” on the jacket. Long story short, there was a Tangent Records already, and the label name was switched out of respect to that previous entity. And since this has been a topic of conversation, the letter also confirms the involvement of We Shot The Moon brainchild, Jonathan Jones, in the reissue.
A digital download (256 kbps) is included in the package. Pre-order options had you either picking up the album on gold vinyl (limited to 100) or black vinyl (limited to 200), while a test pressing option was available, quickly selling out. A CD was not included.
We Shot The Moon’s full length album, Love On, is the first of the outfit’s material to come to vinyl, with the pressing courtesy of new label, Watchmaker Record Company. And while the music itself doesn’t break too far away from a mainstream sound, the lyricism by frontman Jonathan Jones is impressive. The pressing from Watchmaker includes a nice photo-quality insert, while sound quality is comparable to what you’ll get from the digital version. Fans of the We Shot The Moon will find much to like about the release and while the music didn’t really make me a permanent fan, I wouldn’t mind a return visit to some of Jones’ other albums.
“Minute Land,” “Araby (Lie #17)” and “How To Move On”
You can pick up the reissue over at Watchmaker Record Company.