Frame by frame


Sean Moore
; and Miguel
; Miranda
;Rotoscope Reflections
(Gone and Records)


Idiosyncratic local musician and former Heathen Sean Moore's recent experiments with cerebral mood music have flirted with an overbearing profundity that, while admirable, seems to sacrifice cohesion for indulgence. The internalized atmosphere of self-released albums like 2007's Tone Poems in Low Fidelity and Signs of Potential Life showcased his adept musicianship and effortless sense of pop songwriting hooks, but not until this month's team-up with pal Miguel Miranda on Rotoscope Reflections has Moore so confidently led listeners through the slippery avenues of his personality.


From the poignant slow burn of "Four Canals" to the throbbing bemusement of the transcendent album closer, "Caught Cheerleading," Reflections strips away every crutch from Moore's melodic arsenal and bravely stands on its own, enveloped by gorgeous digital amplification, while the narrative builds.


Although heavily altered, Moore and Miranda's Queen-like vocal harmonies remain intensely human. "A Tremor No One Else Feels," for instance, kicks off in a lightly underscored a cappella, until their voices are joined by the bubbly incandescence of the keyboards; the line between raw confession and tech bombast is toed gracefully, then excused from the conversation. The song leads right into "Fuzzy Brichezz," a sorrowful instrumental brimming with ideas but contained by a specific temper.


That's the triumph of Rotoscope Reflections: Through his own steady growth (also visible earlier in the year on Moore's contribution to WPRK's White Album, in which his cover of "Julia" stuck to its interpretational expression brilliantly) and the addition of Miranda's influence, Moore has finally expressed a single musical scheme that's admirable as much for its restraint as for its wild accomplishment, something Moore has always possessed in spades.

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