I can remember the first time I became enthralled with Francie Moon. A few years ago we attended an outdoor show on a Sussex County mountain at the beginning of autumn. On a brisk evening under a fire orange sunset Moon, real name Melissa Lucciola, strolled onto the wooden makeshift stage, bent down to pet a dog who wandered up, then adjusted her guitar. I had really enjoyed her recent EP Glass House so I knew she would be good live. I had no idea. One song in and I was blown away.
The culmination of many years of songwriting and various EPs have led to today’s release of her outstanding debut album So This Is Life. The album is a capsule of everything that makes Moon such a special artist. The low-fi and blusey melodies, the killer shredding, the psychedelic touches of 60s era rock, a voice that can be smooth and soulful one minute and positively blistering the next.
Opener “Grow” sets the tone as a quick tempo rocker with a funky backbeat. The guitar work has touches of psychedelia and wails in just the right places while the tight rhythm section of bassist Adam Pumilia and drummer Richie Samartin hold everything together. Moon’s vocal range is on immediate display here both smooth and in control in the verse and ferocious in the chorus as she belts out “I wanna grow!” Then take songs like “Charmed” and “Miss You” that are slinky and soulful and you’ve got an amazing song selection. Her guitar work in these tunes pulls you in as if in a hypnotic trance and holds you there with some great fretwork.
“West Virginia” is a long time live staple is a relaxed, slow burner. Title track “So This Is Life” has always been a favorite of mine since it appeared on Moon’s 2014 EP Free To A Good Home. It is song full of longing, melancholy and pathos lifted by gorgeous, sizzling guitar. Closer “Red Cloud Road” is a soulful jam with melodious backing vocals where Moon sings of this nirvana where she can rest and take her last breathe.
This is a stellar debut album and a tour de force announcement of an amazingly talented artist. “I gave it all I could and it was never enough” Moon sings on the record’s second song. She certainly gives it all she could on So This Is Life and the only way it is never enough is that it leaves the listener wanting more. She once joked with me that I always manage to catch her smiling when I photograph her live. She has turned the tables here as this album had me smiling the whole time I listened.
Francie Moon kicks off a tour tonight in support of So This Is Life at Tony’s Pizza in Stockholm and continues throughout the Northeast including opening for New Brunswick’s Screaming Females in Syracuse on May 4th. Full tour dates here. Download the album on Bandcamp now.
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