Album Review: ‘Goodnight Moon Part II’ by Rookie of the Year
I was a little disappointed, though, at the overall lack of variety, as many of the songs on the album follow that standard template. Some of my favorite songs off their past albums are somber, straight-up acoustic or single instrumental songs. On their 2012 EP release Along for the Ride, there’s a seminal track called “Diamond Lights” consisting solely of Dunson singing against a gorgeous piano piece, accompanied by background strings. It’s a real testament to their music-making ability, and I was hoping for more of the same on this album, but it’s only present sporadically.
It should come as no surprise, then, that my favorite track off the album is “Raleigh,” a beautiful acoustic medley in which the main instruments are an acoustic guitar, drums, and some excellent vocal harmonies. It’s a change-of-pace song, and it certainly stands out from the rest, as does “Three Words,” which is more along the style of the rest of the songs, but the chorus is just too damn catchy to ignore. The final track, “444,” is an acoustic-dominated track backed by a keyboard and tambourine that sees Ryan really open up vocally.
Despite the overall similar tone of the songs on the album, it’s easy to think just about any fan of indie/pop rock will find a song suitable to their tastes. “Colors of Summer” and “Wild and Free” could have been part of any late 90’s-early 2000’s teen movie or alternative album, while “Leave it All Behind” has shades of indie influences, with its bass/cymbal-only drumming and riff-humming.
Goodnight Moon Part II isn’t really the band taking a step forward so much as it is the band firmly planting a foot in the ground. Rather than experiment with a new sound and risk alienating their fanbase, they decided to assert themselves as a summer rock band. On this level, they have done a terrific job. The production job by Steve Sopchak and Matt Malpass is excellent, giving the instruments just enough volume to complement Ryan’s voice without overpowering it.
If you’re a fan of Rookie of the Year and would love to hear more of the same, you’re going to enjoy just about every song on this album. If you haven’t heard of this band but are looking for an upbeat band that’s easy to get into, I would highly recommend giving Goodnight Moon Part II a chance, then going back and checking out some of their previous work. It’s a solid proclamation that this band hasn’t gone anywhere, and while I hope they’re more comfortable branching out even further with their next offering, this album will more than hold me over until then.
Goodnight Moon Part II gets a B+.
For fans of: Radford, Phillip Phillips, Juliana Theory
Strong Tracks: Three Words, Raleigh, 444
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