REVIEWS and COMMENTS
Poison Stream will not speak to everyone, but nakedly honest art never does. However, those who possess the requisite disposition and bent to take it on will be rewarded with an album both serene and soul-crushing. It's ultimately quite beautiful, even if it's possibly the first recording since Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' Skeleton Tree to warrant the need for a safeword. Devastation and cynicism have rarely sounded so lovely.
Marty Willson-Piper has an impressive CV: still perhaps best known as guitarist with The Church, along the way he's spent time with All About Eve and The Saints, racking up a litany of guest-spots and collaborations for good measure. Moat is a project with multi-instrumentalist Niko Röhlcke of Swedish indie band Weeping Willows. Songtitles like 'Acid Rain', 'Judgement Day' and 'Tears Will Come' are signposts, but are they pointing in the right direction? The layered sonic soundscapes are not that far from latterday Church, but a million miles from bleak. The songs are, on the whole, stronger, sweeter: steeped in the torchy European pop of Walker, Brel and Gainsbourg - even Dusty Springfield! - sweeping violin (from Willson-Piper's wife Olivia), sparkling 12-string and richly indulgent brass add light and colour to something frequently exquisite.
9 out of 10
Marty Willson-Piper came to prominence and chart success with the Australian band The Church and later with All About Eve. Since 2013 he has ploughed with some aplomb a musically creative and diverse career as a solo artist, working with collaborators Anekdoten and on the musical project Noctorum.
This is his second MOAT album with Niko Röhlcke of the band Weeping Willows. Röhlcke is also a highly regarded creator of film soundtracks.
With this elegant marriage of creativity, they have created this magnificent album of brilliantly crafted music and lyrics that are cinematic in context and mesmerising in lyrical content. Incorporating a range of styles from up foot-tapping pop with opening track "Acid Rain", haunting film style melancholic "Gone By Noon", Motown feeling "The Roadmap To My soul" and the gently wistfully folksy "The Ballad of Sweet Marie" this is a master class of musicianship and engaging production that rewards repeat listening and unexpected treasured introspection. Piper's autumnal lyrics throughout the collection with references to shrouds, loss and the "tears they come" bring a vulnerability to songs of heartfelt beauty. The album concludes with two songs of acoustic contrasts in "Lover" and "Tears Will come" that reminds one of the contrasting styles of Lennon and McCartney on their White Album masterpieces of "Blackbird" and "Julia".
The sound, arrangements and subtle musical wizardry on display here, however, is owned by these two creative masters who are working collectively at the top of their game which prompts me to rank it as one of the best albums I have been blessed to review in many years.
This is an essential purchase.
There are many twists and turns and unexpected moments on Poison Stream that are brought together with explicit precision injected with pure unbridled emotion. The entire experience begins from the very first moment that you hold the cover in your hand, examine the details and put the needle on the record. And I feel like this is exactly the kind of album that must be listened to in sequence in order to fully grasp and enjoy the experience that unfolds. It's a dying art to observe and listen to music in this way, and I feel like this is part of the message that is ultimately conveyed.
Globetrotting guitarist Marty Willson-Piper lets no moss grow under his feet, inviting new experiences with a vast array of collaborations on solo albums and recent side projects including Atlantæum Flood, Anekdoten, and Noctorum. Willson-Piper now returns to MOAT, a rich collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Niko Röhlcke of Swedish scenesters Weeping Willows to follow their 2013 self-titled debut. The inclusion of regular cast members including violinist and singer Olivia Willson-Piper and producer/jack of all trades Dare Mason connects the sound comfortably to MWP's oeuvre. The sparkling chorus of "Helpless You" belies the portrait of a self-defeated soul, as MWP and Röhlcke trade shimmering acoustic riffs with OWP's sprightly strings. Röhlcke's accordion during "The Ballad of Sweet Marie" adds old-world flair and charm to a pensive duet between the Willson-Pipers. A spectral and unsettled mood haunts the cinematic "Judgement Day," as the bone-weary oppressed seek the upper hand against their oppressors. Late-night crooner "Lover" adds smoky brass to the bitter sting of romance lost. "Acid Rain" is the collection's driving rocker, propelled by percolating electropop sequencers and Eddie John's urgent drumming. MWP navigates the acrid weather as it deconstructs his physical body to reveal a troubled spirit wracked by desire. This textured and gothic Anglo-Scandinavian folk-pop rewards repeated listens with lyrical and musical twists aplenty. (schoolkidsrecords.com)
8 out of 10
MOAT is a great example of what actual musical progress sounds like, a heady blend of chiming, familiar guitar sounds and forward-thinking electronica. But that alone counts for nothing if you don't have the songs. MOAT, a collaboration between Marty Willson-Piper and Niko Röhlcke has them in spades. Songs that blend sounds and styles, which jump generic demarcations, which nod to the past whilst looking to the future, which rock out as easily as they tug at heartstrings, play by their own rules and which, despite all of that, never sound remotely like anything other than their own, signature sound.
Much like John Carpenter's recent album Lost Themes 3, Poison Stream is the perfect album for inner reflection, allowing their aural powers to create cinema for the mind. In a time where we're cocooned in our homes, it makes for sublime escapism.
**** (4 stars out of 5)
Poison Stream es un álbum que, en lo que a su construcción musical se refiere, tiene una estructura cosmopolita dada la variedad de estilos e instrumentación conjuntados y ensamblados para dar forma a ésta obra que trata de aquél tema que a muchos nos ha convertido en ciudadanos del mundo, más no como un tratado de aquello que te amarga a manera de queja, sino como un tratamiento que te ilustra a partir de la experiencia del narrador acerca de cómo es que pasó por diferentes episodios dolorosos para llegar al punto en que encontró la salida definitiva para aliviar la pena que deja una pérdida amorosa.
Google Translation of Entire Review:
MOAT is a collective dedicated to artistic creation that, after a successful campaign on Indiegogo, obtains the necessary funds to produce its second study material via Schoolkid Records, managing not only to fund the circulation of this material but also to exhaust the edition in vinyl before its release this February 12, so Marty Willson-Piper and Niko Röhlcke will surely continue with the promotional work for this album, with a more than optimistic outlook for future projects.
Poison Stream is an album that, as far as its musical construction is concerned, has a cosmopolitan structure given the variety of styles and instrumentation combined and assembled to give shape to this work that deals with that theme that has made many of us citizens of the world, but not as a treatise on what makes you bitter as a complaint, but as a treatment that illustrates from the narrator's experience about how he went through different painful episodes to get to the point where he found the definitive exit to alleviate the pain that a love loss leaves behind.
MOAT has in Poison Stream an album with a universal profile, since it is difficult for there to be a living being in the world that, in sentimental matters of a practical and not theoretical profile, ceases to be reflected in any of the songs that make it up, being so that, although Acid Rain, The Roadmap to My Soul, Helpless You, and Gone By Noon, are songs that are already known territory as they have been presented as promotional themes, the surprises of déjà vu will not stop being present when listening, already be it for the first time or revisit in future tense, The Ballad of Seet Marie, Judgment Day, Black and White, The Folly, Lover, and the tellingly definitive Tears Will Come.
MOAT, Poison Stream...
MOAT has today released their new album titled 'Poison Stream'. The collaboration between Marty Willson-Piper and Niko Röhlcke has completed that long-awaited circle with this new album. I say that because I must confess, this is one album I have been waiting for.
We get that glorious mashup of signature sounds that have made both core artists in MOAT masters at their game, but, you also get that added aspect of road worn and weary musicians that can effortlessly wear their hearts on their sleeves with each and every track. This is simply beautiful.
'Poison Stream' is more than an album, it's a companion.
It's possibly the involvement of Marty Willson-Piper, twelve-string botherer of this parish, that will be of most interest to members of The Afterword, but MOAT is no jingle-jangle pony, being a collaboration between ex-The Church Shergoldster and member of - if for not necessarily their best but certainly most interesting album - All About Eve, and Weeping Willows instrumentalist Niko Röhlcke.
Don't get me wrong, there are acoustics aplenty all over this, but there are also horns, strings (principally tastefully deployed by one Olivia Willson-Piper) and the campaign for real drums will celebrate the investment of a portion of the crowdfunded budget in employing one Eddie John (once, briefly of AW-friendly popsters Stackridge) to thump the tubs in a most appropriate manner, all expertly shepherded by co-producer Dare Mason, veteran of knob twiddling for the likes of Soul II Soul, Prince, Elton John and, um, The Triffids.
This is a lovely album from beginning to the end - it takes you on a fascinating journey through a folk-infused haze moving from pure indie pop to psychedelia, blues and cabaret, with the golden thread of Willson-Piper's sonorous vocals - deep and profound.
This is an entirely complete and satisfying album, painted on a canvas with many rich colours and framed with heavenly melodies and mountain high choruses. It is at times reflective and melancholy, at others theatrical and poised: baroque and stately indie/folk pop. You can discern the perfect marriage between Willson-Piper's paisley/folk/goth soaked background and the instrumental genius and production skills of Röhlcke.
8.6 out of 10
**** (4 out of 5)
Eight years after their self-titled debut, English singer-guitarist Marty Willson-Piper (The Church, All About Eve) and Swedish composer and multi-instrumentalist Niko Röhicke (Weeping Willows) return with 10 semi-acoustic, exquisitely crafted guitar songs, incorporating folk, soft-rock and late-night jazz.
Consistently downbeat in mood, it's still a record of many twists and turns, with the expectations set by the driving alt-rock of 'Acid Rain' and gothic ballad 'Gone By Noon' joyfully derailed halfway through by 'The Roadmap To My Soul', a ragged showtune roughed up in the alleyway behind the theatre, which builds to a horn-assisted, showboating electric guitar coda. Willson-Piper's six-string virtuosity rarely hogs the limelight however, and guitars take a backseat to violins on the experimental, oppressive 'Judgement Day', while 'Lover' finds Marty crooning like Sinatra over a full brass arrangement. One for the wee small hours, this pensive, subtle album keeps several surprises up its black velvet sleeve.
Those who enjoy thoughtful and timeless Anglo-Scandinavian-style folk-pop with lyrical twists and turns and atmospheric and intriguing sonics, then this album will definitely satisfy the ear and the mind.