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Exuberance. It’s the reason most of us got involved with music to begin with. That brisk pulse emanating through an imperfect coagulation of rhythms and beats that somehow struck something that inspired and made us, well, exuberant.
This inexorable feeling penetrates just about everyone at one time or another—usually those with youth on their side—and is the reason bands such as Moon Pearl exist. Classified as experimental space rock at the basest level, the band seemingly write and play songs without following any rules. Upon initial listen, the outfit’s debut five-track EP, Pearl Jam, seems like an avant-garde hodgepodge of disparate vocals helped along by an arrangement of just-as-disparate instrumentation, but a deeper listen reveals what can only be described as the bluster of kids doing what they love simply because they can.
No one will ever mistake Moon Pearl for a polished set of virtuosos trying to out-lute Sting. Moon Pearl are loud, noisy, powerful and energetic. Their songs may come across as a compilation of directionless sounds all competing for position under the spotlight, but if you keep listening to them, it’s plain there is progress being made.
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“Someone once referred to us as histrionic garage,” Sam Farzin, the group’s musical architect (and mastermind of UCI’s Acrobatics Everyday), says. “I thought that was a good description of what we do . . . a bunch of dense sounds and textures that keep progressing and gaining momentum.”
In its infancy three or four years ago, Moon Pearl were nothing more than a collection of songs Farzin tracked on his computer using keyboards and guitars. When he played said songs for friend/fellow musician Paul McEldowney, an instant synergy sparked, and the two began writing together.
Their first show was in January 2009 at Detroit Bar, opening up for LA hipster Ariel Pink. At the time, Farzin and McEldowney comprised the whole band, but since then, Moon Pearl have rather precipitously expanded. The band have played with as many as 11 members, including a horn section and multiple vocalists uttering only textural noises. However, Farzin feels the group are capable of playing with as few as seven members.
In an age when multiple instruments can be easily re-created using keyboards and computers, the reason for Moon Pearl’s expansive membership comes down to one thing: yes, exuberance.
“It’s just way more fun to play with more people,” Farzin says. “It’s exhilarating to hear the variety of sounds that a large group of people can create.”
While Farzin and McEldowney are continually open to welcoming additional musicians into their clan, Moon Pearl’s direction clearly comes from the two of them. In fact, in many cases, whatever they pen or suggest is all that their cohorts play.
“There is very little improvisation in what we do,” Farzin says. “Everything is pretty rehearsed and planned out. . . . Every now and then, we may do something a bit different, but even that is usually planned.”
Over the past year, the band have played throughout Southern California and even ventured up to the Bay Area for a few shows, but with most members still in school—Farzin and McEldowney are in their early 20s—committing to the project full-time hasn’t been possible. While they remain unsigned, Farzin hopes to get Moon Pearl back into the studio in the near future.
At the very least, he’s just happy to be regularly playing music with his friends. “To me, there is nothing better than getting together with a bunch of people and playing,” he says. “I just love it.”
Moon Pearl perform with the Urxed, Back to the Future the Ride and Universal Studios Florida at the Smell, 247 S. Main St., Los Angeles; www.thesmell.org. Fri.,8:30 p.m. $5. All ages. And with Mi Ami and K.I.T. at Acrobatics Everyday at UC Irvine, Campus and West Peltason drives, Irvine; acrobaticseveryday.com. Oct. 16, 8 p.m. $5. For more info on the band, visit www.myspace.com/moonpearlmoonpearl.
Download Moon Pearl's debut five-track EP, Pearl Jam, for FREE here.
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This column appeared in print as "Moon Pearl Rising."