We apologize here at Beat Blvd for being a little late on this one — the band's record release party was yesterday — but it's been a distracting week on our end, including the passage of a dear friend. So if you were at last night's show you probably already know the score about the partially-Fullerton-based Max and the Moon and their sophomore release and that the opening track on the EP starts with such a note-perfect Beach Boys harmony bit that for a second we were wondering if we'd accidentally hit shuffle on iTunes.
No complaints when that's done well, of course, and in the 21st century alone there have been endless bands planting their flag there. What Max and the Moon have going is that strain of singing combined with a fair amount of other things in indie of recent years — it's not Animal Collective's lost-in-the-sonic-fog sweeps, more the kind of jaunty kick-up-your-heels rock that actually feels a bit like the kind of thing a slew of Anglo/Anglophilic mid-90s indie-pop bands did, rough around the edges but never without a catchy chorus. (There's even a hint of the too-obscure Butterfly Child at points on “The Walk” — and trust us, we mean that as very high praise.)
The description the band offers of themselves as also being influenced by blues and jazz is something maybe more in the spirit rather than much of the sound, admittedly — there aren't genre mixups here so much as sweetly accomplished and sunny sounding riffs and singing. But when moments like the piano break on “Out of My Head” and the mix of sprightly guitar sparkle and drumming on the title track snaps into a vocal and percussion only moment, it's all good no matter what label you put on it.