A one-time Flying Nun act, Graham Downes' Verlaines produced some of the most sophisticated indie pop of the '80s while on the label, and made it to America all too ahead of their time. With Over the Moon, the Los Angeles production replaces the antipodean garage that gave their albums Bird Dog and Hallelujah All the Way Home such a distinctive character, which highlighted the eccentric songwriting sensibilities of Downes. His only peers in the craft being Go-Betweens frontman Robert Forster and fellow Kiwi Martin Phillips of the Chills for absolute mastery of the art. The collection here has all of the distinctive traits that made the Verlaines so special -- quirky lyrics, Baroque string arrangements, and incessant guitar jangle, but somehow Over the Moon sounds a little lackluster with time. Ironically, though, it contains some of his most developed lyric writing and arranging skills, proving that it takes more than production trends to overshadow such genius.
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