Review of ‘Harmonize the Moon’ by Michael Feuerstack

The things that are getting us through.

What’s getting me through is Harmonize the Moon, a new album from Montreal songwriter Michael Feuerstack. Feuerstack has refined his trade through a catalogue of excellent albums with an expanding set of musical tools (even two records’ worth of other people singing his songs), but the pandemic has reduced his sonic palette to the essentials: guitars, keys and his baritone voice, hushed like he’s worried he’ll wake the neighbours. How does he use them? Intriguing jazz changes, an e-bow buzzing over dry wooden folk patterns, and unresolved chords like the ones that lifted Joni Mitchell to the superlative. Feuerstack is a deliberate songwriter, with lyrics that display his craft but retain a mystery. These songs are not lockdown tales, though the narrator of “In the Waiting Room” is “sitting here on hold … Menu option’s wrong/ Call back later on/ You’ll be waiting all your life”, perhaps to arrange a vaccine appointment. But their spare intimacy invites us into the private space he creates. It suggests the sort of gathering we’ve all come to long for: a warm room, a few trusted friends, the dark outside. Until this pandemic resolves, Harmonize the Moon is the closest we can get.

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  • Michael Munnik

    Michael Munnik is a musician, academic, and former broadcast journalist. He lectures at Cardiff University in Cardiff, UK, on the sociology of media and religion. Prior to that, he worked at CBC Radio Ottawa and served on the board of The Presbyterian Record.

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