Luminaria

by Ian Moore

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about

Those who already know Moore may only know him from his previous incarnation as a guitar-slinging Texan. Those who haven't heard his earlier work will have a hard time connecting his earlier blues-rock background to his current folk-rock inflected alt.country sound. His latest betrays few hints of his past, filling out this disc (his sixth) with superb pop melodies and adventurous arrangements that layer harmony and echo on meters that effortlessly flow from pop 4/4 to dreamy waltz-time interludes.

Touch-points like Jeff Buckley's introspective folk and Wilco's pop constructs are fleshed out by loping tempos, as well as pedal steel that is more atmosphere than twang. The 7+ minute "Caroline" is a lush Badfinger-like construct that alternates between concise melodic pop and trippy psychedelia. Having recorded this album over many months with a revolving set of musicians in several cities and along the road, the songs explore a wide range of styles, including the shuffling country soul of "April," the jazzy blues of "Abilene," and the otherworldly Theramin-inspired "Ordinary People." It's a heady collection of sophisticated sounds that mixes primary elements with shadings of trip-hop.

When Moore cranks up the rock 'n' roll electricity, as he does for "New Day," it's more a wall-of-buzz (with Penny Lane-ish trumpets) than Texas blues. Even the rootsy dobro rant "Bastard" sounds as though it were processed through a bit of Tom Waits' alley-way sensibility. Moore's lyrics are similarly sophisticated, mixing allegory with word play for poetic effect, but without destroying the narratives or characters. His sketch of Antarctic explorer Sir Robert Scott's dramatically portrays the mariner's failed attempt to reach the South Pole before anyone else (he was beaten by Norwegian Roald Amundsen), and his death on the return journey.

Perhaps the album's greatest achievement is how effortlessly it combines its breadth of style and depth of experimentation. Rather than sounding constructed, it sounds like an organic whole that tumbled out of Moore's imagination. There's a great deal of craft in the unusual, detailed arrangements, but like the lyrics, singing and playing, it's in service of fashioning a superbly coherent result from often disparate ingredients.

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released August 8, 2004

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Track Name: What I've Done
Driving east through Alabama
and its rainy and its cold
see the world through dirty windows
waiting for the sun to show

And the road is a black ribbon
through a pretty woman's hair
that i've seen from every angle
without finding something there

So take from me my worry
as my life will take its own
my hands have hurt no others
just my eyes know what i've done

The morning light looks different
but every day ends just the same
and the road goes on forever
for those who got stuck or couldn't change

but don't break me with your pity
my hands have hardened into this
i live a life that some would envy
i live a life that's what it is

So take from me my worry
as my life will take its own
my hands have hurt no others
just my eyes know what i've done
just my eyes know what i've done
Track Name: Caroline
...and then the rains they came
from thick unbroken clouds
and washed out all the names
from tired little towns

and summers gone away to some California coast
hey i don't mind, i never saw here around much anyway

but i cannot be stilled
it's coursing through my veins
the songs that never lived, the songs that stayed the same

they turned around the truth, knocked you from your feet
the world was on your back and you wouldn't carry that weight

Caroline you should have captured their hearts while you still could
but you just threw it away, did you really think you'd live forever
Caroline?

And one by one they fell
barely clinging to their names
technology overflowing
until it was flowing from their brains

Nobody knew the words, nobody knew to sing
nobody had the time to talk about it anyway

Caroline you should have captured their hearts while you still could
but you just threw it away, did you really think you'd live forever
Caroline?

they all just sold you down the line
and now your looking for forgiveness every time you shut your eyes
but your faded and old, did they never tell you?

Caroline you should have captured their hearts while you still could
but you just threw it away, did you really think you'd live forever
Caroline?
Caroline you should have captured their hearts while you still could
but you just threw it away, did you really think you'd live forever
Caroline?
you should just throw it away
did you really think that you'd live forever?
Track Name: New Day
Every day is like a new day
the sun has broken through the night's haze
i drink my coffee from a big cup
and i ain't ever gonna get up, get up

If i was a writer well i'd lay around
smoking cigarettes and thinking about
the life i'd live if i was someone else
if love was lost and i was by myself
by myself

But your love it is a mountain stream
what's rough and rocky turns the valley green
and just to love you is not enough
I just want to drink you up, drink you up

So my head is heavy and my tongue is slow
but i just want to call to let you know
your words weren't wasted baby i'm doing ok
and every day is like a new day
Track Name: April
You smile's been broken by 100 cloudy days
you say your heading down to California
because the living is easy there, nobody knows your name
but its only time before they find you

You just can't name your enemies
when you don't know what they've done
you get so strung out on all their gossip
it becomes your only source of fun

But April you're doing fine
writing down your column in the Portland times
listening to the records of the friends you've known
trying to hear their stories and the truths they've told
And the sun falls fast in the winter sky
but these clouds are going to stay a while
try your best to show a smile
April

It get so dark down there, in your basement room
sometimes its days before the sun shines
and you get so tired, and your bed fits like a womb
sometimes its hard to see the point in trying

But you stay that way when you stay alone
you don't answer the door, you don't pick up the phone
and the smoke turns the room a hazy blue
those habits, they fall over you

But April you're doing fine
writing down your column in the Portland times
listening to the records of the friends you've known
trying to hear their stories and the truths they've told
And the sun falls fast in the winter sky
but these clouds are going to stay a while
try your best to show a smile
April
Track Name: Kangaroo Lake
Busted in Bellingham, waiting on a friend
watching the headlights through the mist and the rain
and i wouldn't stay if i was given a choice
but i'm cold and flat, just like the sound of your voice
when you promised to go straight
and i waited their for you on Kangaroo lake

Even the morning sun seems tired and cold
pick up a paperback just for something to hold
but the words aren't clear, and the language unkind
and i'm staring at those pages until i think i'm losing my mind
and the hours growing late
and i wish i could see you on Kangaroo lake

And to say this is easy is to say you don't know
and there's nothing to talk about
seeing life through your eyes
everything's black and white
well i was never that kind

Just give some kind of sign that your still alive
send me a picture, a postcard, just drop me a line
because i didn't know that this was our final goodbye
i should have seen, but i was barely getting by
and you don't negotiate
and i wish i could see you on Kangaroo Lake
Track Name: Abilene
Abilene, inside of me
misunderstood and cruel
a casual slip betrays my point of view

I can see for miles and miles
but i can never call your name
Oh Abilene, too many sunny skies

I'd leave this town, i'd forget your skin
forget your name and everything
but you let me down, left me hanging around
like some strange fruit from a tree

I'm afraid to sleep, afraid to walk these streets
for the day they'll find me out
there would be no sympathy for ones like me around
So nevermore, your hurried breath
because you would never compromise
Oh Abilene too many sunny skies
Track Name: Ordinary People
Punctured, painted
spoiled and jaded
rebellion by numbers, your studied subculture
is pulling you down
and your digging desperately to get into the underground

your friendships, they're like fanzines
all missions and pipedreams
they sparkle at midnight, but come morning they quickly fade away

Claire we've got nothing to fear
my car is running in a moment we'll be out of here

All of my friends are pretty and thin
sleep through the day and wake up to the moon again
don't think i'm unkind if your world is not mine
and you are ordinary people

So take off your makeup
and take off your california rags
your skin seems familiar
its speaks in words much clearer than you'll realize

Claire we've got nothing to hide
we stand hear naked like two virgins waiting for the crime

All of my friends are pretty and thin
sleep through the day and wake up to the moon again
don't think i'm unkind if your world is not mine
and you are ordinary people
Track Name: Cinnamon
The sun has a way of going straight to my head
i get hazy and lazy, can't get from my bed
so i lay there and stare at your seraphim hair for a while

and its crawling and creeping and covering my skin
i can't breathe, i can't see, find anything
except your lips and your tongue and we're moving as one
here as one

Just let me lay in your bed for a while
i'm drunk and i'm happy inside of you
and if this thing will help get you through
if it gets you through
it gets you through
then there's nothing else more i will do

So your body is blushing like blood from a rose
its zipless and perfect like obsidian stone
from the flush of your skin to the secrets within
here within

Just let me lay in your bed for a while
i'm drunk and i'm happy inside of you
and if this thing will help get you through
if it gets you through
it gets you through
then there's nothing else more i will do
Track Name: Sir Robert Scott
Well sir Robert Scott did someone break your heart
and send you on out in the cold
to the ends of the world on a Manchurian pony
four men who believed every word that you said

Sir Robert Scott you're a different sort
and you had the whole world on your back
you carried that load like a good Christian soul
to plant England's flag deep in the Antarctic soil
but somebody beat you and now you don't know

you say "My god, my god has left me behind,
Forsaken, forgotten in this ice and this snow
i'm getting weaker and i will not write anymore"

Sir Robert Scott you set back for your ship
for your men they were hungry and tired
and you're not to blame for the blizzard that came
eleven miles out from your food and your bed

Sir Robert Scott lay your head down to sleep
its ten years that are wasted and gone
lay down for a while let the warmth overcome you
and wait for the summer to come,
because that's when they'll come back around

you say "My god, my god has left me behind,
Forsaken, forgotten in this ice and this snow
i'm getting weaker and i will not write anymore"
Track Name: Susan
Susan's floating weightless through the atmosphere
the sunlight makes it hard to see her
not far to go until the is floating out of here
the sunlight makes her skin translucent

and every single fiber twisting
every neuron firing in me
all my blood in constant motion
every breath i take
thoughts roll like a fire engine
strings of words but no intention
hey will you remember me
when you have lost your head?

Lost the date must be the mid of may
Because you can see the lilacs blooming
falling into catacombs corralled in sleep
and absence fills the empty space
until the scent itself seems out of place

and every single fiber twisting
every neuron firing in me
all my blood in constant motion
every breath i take
thoughts roll like a fire engine
strings of words but no intention
hey will you remember me
when you have lost your head?

Its only in the silence that you move in me
my blood runs red and i can feel you
sifting through the quiet of the afternoon, the trees they bend and sway
they have no knowledge, but there's something in the way

and every single fiber twisting
every neuron firing in me
all my blood in constant motion
every breath i take
thoughts roll like a fire engine
strings of words but no intention
hey will you remember me
when you have lost your head?