When Moriarty released their first album, Gee Whiz But This is a Lonesome Town, critics scratched their collective heads over what, aside from its creators, defined it as French.
More Paris, Texas, than Paris, France, it melded harmonica, kazoo, harp and Wild West twang in a manner that evoked visions of tumbleweed, hillbillies and bison — a long way from the glamorous arrondisements of the City Of Lights. The band’s name borrows from a Jack Kerouac tale; Dean Moriarty was the hero of On The Road, a “holy goof” who’s got “the secret that we’re all busting to find out”. But is also means “man of the sea” in Gaelic (not Gallic), which ties neatly to the group’s penchant for folk melodies – and the oceans spanning its member’s collective roots: France, America, Switzerland and Vietnam. As for their new album, The Missing Room, penned after a long stint of touring (maybe all those hotel rooms blended into one), it has plenty of French twists if you’re looking for them. Consider the song titles: Where is the Light, How Many Tides, The Dark Line in the Middle of Hope; if Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir weren’t debating such existential quandaries in Paris’ Cafe de Flore back in the day, what were they doing? If you get the groove, Moriarty will be back Down Under in January for So Frenchy So Chic in the Park. It’ll be a perfect chance to stop and smell the roses.