Till Delta, it looked like we were heading for a carefree, almost post COVID summer full of fun, concerts and worry free small and massive gatherings – a celebratory vibe that we can still hope for and look forward to as we rock hard, roll steady and breeze along to the mix of fiery, life affirming jazz, R&B and blues inflected jams and sensual, mid-tempo ballads on Coral Moons’ dynamic and (to draw from the nature borne metaphor of their provocative moniker) full length debut album Fieldcrest.
Lead singer and the band’s chief songwriter Carly Kraft explains that the title is defined as “a sentimental or wistful affection for the past.” It’s also the street she grew up on in Upstate NY. The song she penned in its honor – which wraps the stylistically multi-faceted set – is a softhearted, nostalgic meditation full of lush vocal harmonies, Kevin O’Connell’s hypnotic drum emphasis and dreamy and an atmospheric spaciousness.
It’s a nice place to land but the journey there is even more intoxicating. And though the tracks were penned during the heart of the lockdown, they speak energetically about the liberation/freedom we’ve all collectively been waiting to feel again (the propulsive, hard jangling soul-rock opener/anthem “I Feel Alive”), a dream state offering a path of escape from pain (the hypno-sultry/summery “Beach Song”), an airy, mystical expression of being unsettled and longing for more in a relationship (“Other People”) and a full on blast of summer via a windows/top down, wind in your hair road trip (the brass fired, old school snazz-funk driven “Winnebago” – whose video earned two prominent nominations at the 2020 Boston Music Awards. Though the band's ballads are quite inviting, this retro-tinged, Amy Winehouseish track offers a relentless energy that fans should hope they share more of in the future.
The multi-mood swinging Fieldcrest is a fulfilling and inspiring culmination of a trajectory that began organically enough when Kraft met bassist Manuel Camacho when the boss at their office day job wanted to do some open mics. Their natural chemistry flourished as the singer discovered her ample gifts as a songwriter – and the lineup was completed with the addition of O’Connell and guitarist Justin Bartlett, who had worked with Kraft on her 2018 indie rock/ambient folk project Hope & Things.
Fieldcrest, which they laid the groundwork for with three lead singles, is technically the follow-up to their 2019 debut EP Quarter Life Crisis. Considering how quickly their streaming and playlist add numbers flourished, there’s no doubt the band would have flourished whether a pandemic had happened or not. But because we’ve gone through it, their new music feels essential in meeting our collective moment as we struggle day to day to get back to normal and feel freedom like we did before the world went mad.