From the high deserts of Nevada, The Sextones emerge with their debut album, Moonlight Vision, now available worldwide. Moonlight Vision is a diligently crafted work showcasing their distinctive brand of soul music with smoked out guitar riffs, growling bass lines, commanding drums, sticky organ comping and honest, but catchy vocal acrobatics. The release of Moonlight Vision is the first step forward for a group that has already accomplished what most musicians spend a lifetime trying to achieve –touring across the nation and sharing stages with the likes of Macy Gray, Ziggy Marley, and Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, as well as working with renowned funkologist Alan Evans of Soulive. The mighty band is formed from acclaimed west coast musicians, Mark Sexton (guitar/vocals), Alexander Korostinsky (bass), Daniel Weiss (drums), and Ryan Taylor (keys.)
The group can be described as obsessive compulsive perfectionists, spending over a year in post-production. Every aspect of the record was put under the microscope, considered and reconsidered before finally reaching its final state. Moonlight Vision embodies the boundless work ethic and attention to detail the band brings to the table.
The Sextones took a tonal purist’s approach to crafting the album’s sound, making sure to stick to timeless methods over hyped-up trends. In the age of all digital recording, electromagnetic analog tape was used to capture every nuance of the band’s high-caliber musicianship. While searching for a studio that was well-equipped to fit their vision, the group found a home at Prairie Sun Studios in Sonoma, California, the birthplace of several famous Tom Waits albums.
The aim was to do what many great artists have done –take elements from great works of the past and add a contemporary flavor to them. Speaking further on this Mark Sexton noted, “One of the intentions of Moonlight Vision’s production was to have a sonically classic sounding album –sounds that are reminiscent of music we grew up listening to, but with a modern character. I think we achieved that.”
The songs on the album tackle the issues that keep many of us up deep into the sky’s darkest hours, with Mark claiming that “love, resentment, growing up, fear, stubborn defiance, and dissatisfaction with current times are reoccurring themes for Moonlight Vision.” The themes of the songs show a band grounded in reality, creating a relatable aura around a vibe very few can recreate. The tracks exemplify carefully executed arrangements, with Sexton explaining, “These songs were road tested on audiences and meticulously refined many times before finally laying them down on tape.”
Instantly demanding the aural attention, from the first track ‘Push on Through,’ –an anthem to keep using your gifts and not fall into the dreariness of societal norms– with a horn line composed by Scott Morning of The Polyrhythmics, to the precise falsettos of ‘How Could I Have Known,’ Moonlight Vision illuminates an otherwise dark path of hope. ‘Analog Girl’ flashes two-chord funk at its finest while ‘Home Is You’ provides a waltz-friendly time signature change. ‘Blame It on My Youth’ is a swing-friendly shuffle with a busy bassline, followed by ‘Can’t Stop,’ the oldest song on the album, lending itself as the album’s easiest dance number. Title track ‘Moonlight Vision,’ inspired by the 1969 cult classic Easy Rider, shows a rockier side of The Sextones that flashes strokes of Hendrix. Finally ‘The End,’ perhaps the most lyrically personal song on Moonlight Vision, caps the album appropriately with a deeper look into the heart of the band, before fading out with a swirl of psychedelic fuzz guitar.
The Sextones have musical chops beyond their years and Moonlight Vision shows how well-versed the band is across musical styles. The band has been touring since they were minors in high school and will continue to spread their sound throughout the United States and Europe.