It’s been four years since we’ve seen a release from Night Moves. Their debut record, Colored Emotions, earned the group some exposure as well as some well deserved respect. They created a fairly decent album, a record with some not-so-subtle influences (MGMT among them), but a decent one nonetheless. The album was proof that Night Moves was talented… but innovative? Not necessarily.
But like I said, that was four years ago. A lot has changed in that time. Kendrick Lamar released two modern classics, Mac Demarco made lo-fi slacker rock cool, and Night Moves grew into something phenomenal.
The band’s new record Pennied Days begins with the track “Carl Sagan.” A distant dreamy synthesizer draws us into a world that floats around the piercing vocal performance of John Pelant. What immediately strikes me about this song is just how honest it feels. “How long you gonna call my name? How long you gonna feel this way,” Pelant demands with a mixture of confidence and sincerity that can only be described as truly genuine.
This sentiment could be used to describe the entire record. Pennied Days is the most honest album I have heard in quite a while. Throughout the record, Pelant isn’t giving any social commentary and he certainly refrains from telling his listeners how they should live their lives. The lyrics on this record are an intimate slice of someone’s life and the result is both gorgeous and at times heartbreaking.
Even further than the lyrics, these tracks are just catchy. While there is enough variation here to keep things interesting, these nine songs never stray far from a glittering and upbeat breed of indie-pop that is endlessly pleasing.
Pennied Days is a fantastic release from a very under-appreciated band. The duo managed to create something on this LP that feels fresh and original in a genre that has grown stale over the past few years. On the final track of this record Pelant begs the questions, “Are you satisfied?” The answer for me, and most people that give this album a chance, is without a doubt yes. Pennied Days is one of my favorite releases of the year so far.
Stream Pennied Days via Spotify below.