Review: Mister Heavenly — Boxing the Moonlight

Categories:  The Arts    Music
Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 at 6:25 PM
Review: Mister Heavenly — Boxing the Moonlight by Britton Rozzelle

                                                            Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Starring Nick Thorburn (Islands, The Unicorns), Honus Honus (Man Man) and Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse, The Shins), Mister Heavenly is as mysterious as it is conforming to indie rock expectations. Their sound, off-kilter and wild, is deeply soaked in the influence of each member’s individual bands, along with the periods of musical history they draw from, but unfortunately, new album “Boxing the Moonlight” doesn’t utilize this heritage for growth. And with all the energy and whimsy of each band member, it’s a shame the resulting LP is ultimately a derivative and woefully missable effort.

“Boxing the Moonlight” starts off with a jaunty track in the form of “Beat Down,” that, after a few minutes, beat down my nerves more than anything. That mediocrity unfortunately pushes us (slowly and with the strength of a wet noodle) deeper into this collaboration, whether we want to hear more or not.

It’s not all bad, though. “Makin’ Excuses,” “George’s Garden” and “No Floor” all stand out as solid tracks for the supergroup, capitalizing on the frenetic presentation of the varied instrumental talents. “No Floor,” specifically, starts off like a gunshot — evolving into a well-rounded indie-pop track and probably the strongest song here for listeners.

After several tracks of Thorburn’s crooning tenor, “Magic is Gone" and its use of Honus’ vocals is refreshing — giving a brief reprieve until it comes screaming back from the darkness like an unwelcome houseguest at a family gathering.

The songs “Out of Time” and “Crazy Love III” express a different direction for the group, something more interesting and experimental than what was primarily delivered on this record. The former of the two stands as lovingly-layered ode to Halloween that would feel at home on one of Island’s former albums.

Those highs are, at the end of the day, completely shrouded by the dull repetition found within tracks like “Pink Cloud Compression,” which really could have been great and interesting. That’s what’s most frustrating with “Boxing the Moonlight." With the talent present, this could have been a great album, more on par with their first, or even on the same level as recent releases in the same style, like Wolf Parade’s “Cry Cry Cry.”

Instead, Thorburn, Honus and Plummer’s individual talents are lost in this hodge-podge of twangy vocals, surf-pop guitars and punk basslines that left much to be desired. If nothing else, a new album from them means a new opportunity for Michael Cera to come back as their touring bassist, so I guess that’s something worth looking forward to.

Standout Tracks: “No Floor” and “Makin’ Excuses.” 

Stream "Boxing the Moonlight" below:

Britton Rozzelle is the executive editor for The Spectator. He can be reached at

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