(Self-released, cassette, digital)
Picture yourself driving down the open road with the windows down on a brisk August morning in the early 2000s. The sun hasn't had a chance to warm the earth yet, but the air is invigorating. The only thing on your mind is getting out of town and away from the love and life that is slipping through your fingers.
The soundtrack to your mental escape is Under All Skies by Old Moon, the stage name of local indie-rock artist Tom Weir. Based in Sharon, Weir brings a new flavor to the garage-rock revival in Vermont as he writes, performs and produces everything himself.
Under All Skies seems to be dedicated to an unnamed muse to which Weir refers as "you." "I don't like to know / Where you go when you're alone / So I close my eyes," Weir laments in opening track "Dark Blue Morning." Through sanguine guitar riffs and grungy, reverberated vocals, Weir creates an anthem for the perplexing emotions of love. "Candle" has a similarly sentimental and relatable tone. "Sacrifice your heart for fire / Let it crush out your desire," Weir sings, as upbeat instrumentals are once again juxtaposed by profoundly dark lyrics.
Subsequent track "All It Takes" comes halfway through the album as Weir continues to weave the complex fabric of how it feels to try to remain optimistic in strenuous times: "I can't begin to understand / How it feels to lose yourself / When you're dancing 'round the room."
The album mellows out in the second half. Starting at "Consecrated Life," Weir discusses religious allusions and the possibility of having multiple lives and being born again by speaking directly to "you." "Harbor" dives into a symphony of electric guitar and drums, swimming through seas of reverb and distortion as the vibe turns morbid. "Such a cold way to go / And why you gave your life I'll never know," Weir mourns.
In the finale, "Crowned in Laurel," Weir's resonant bass costars alongside the ethereal sound of his synth pad. The title's reference to an ancient Greek symbol of triumph is indicative of hope — a contrast to the dour outlook on the rest of the record. Ironically, after such lyrically cloudy and enigmatic subject matter throughout the album, the final track explores the freedom of being able to breathe and enjoy that morning air again.
Under All Skies is available at oldmoon.bandcamp.com and on Spotify.