This solid rock album is the brain-child of singer and guitarist Allyson Baker, whose forceful lead vocals drive all ten tracks. The San Francisco native is joined by Carson Binks on bass, keyboards and vocals, Michael Urbano on drums, and her husband Aesop Rock as producer, whose hip-hop influence is most felt on the stand-out track Steamboat to Concord. Baker’s vocals are classic punk rock, but are most effective when taken slightly out of this context and paired with synth and laid-back bass lines in the opening tracks. The album as a whole revolves around her vocals, and while she delivers on energy, the lack of range makes it hard to distinguish some of the later tracks from each other. However, Metal Moon’s structure is spot on, and manages to deliver Baker’s music almost in a storyline when the material could have easily turned it into a series of 10 tracks. The two star openers, Ropes That Way and Shout It In, as well as Steamboat to Concord showcase her energy and dynamic voice most effectively.
1. Ropes That Way: Punchy, catchy opener, electronic/synth additions
2. Shout It In: Star track on this album, Baker’s no-nonsense voice is contrasted with a low-key bass riff that floats through and bounces around in instrumentation. Interesting placement of dissonant melody distinguishes this from your average rock track.
3. Surround the Controls: Dissonant vocal melody, laid back drums with guitar interruptions
4. Battle Slang: Crunchy guitar drives this catchy song, children’s chorus line adds some interest
5. No Video: Transition in a more minor direction, low vocals contrast with previous track
6. Katana Rock: Higher energy drum line finally matches the intensity of Baker’s vocals, this is a classic rock track, but guitar lines approach the cheesy and are pretty expected
7. 19 in ’17: Vocals growled out, clapping line really the only thing that distinguishes it from #6
8. Steamboat to Concord: Calls on hip-hop references, looping beats and a similarly chill bass riff as #2 make this an effective transition from the hard-rock middle tracks. Shows off the range and warmth of Baker’s voice.
9. Pretty Face: Another high-energy punk-rock track, short two to three word vocal lines mesh nicely with the punchy guitar lines
10. Beast Size: Closer ties together the punk-infused middle tracks with the cool guitar and bass riffs from the opening tracks