Album Review :
We Shot The Moon - The Polar Bear & Cougar EP

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Artist: We Shot The Moon
Album: The Polar Bear & Cougar EP
Label: The Militia Group
Buy: Amazon MP3

1. Sway Your Head
2. Julie
3. The Water’s Edge
4. Ltfp
5. Welcome Home

Jonathan Jones is almost certainly known to all of you, if you are at all like me. At the same time you were spinning Destination:Beautiful, you were probably spinning Composure. If piano-based indie-pop-rock is your thing, you’ve probably erected a cozy spot in your music collection for Waking Ashland to occupy. If so, you can stop crying now. The break-up of the aforementioned group probably left you heartbroken…at least, those of you who hadn’t already received The Well with a slightly more negative reaction than being stood up at the altar. (And there are many such people. I am one of them.) But cheer up, power-pop kid! We Shot The Moon appropriately fill the deep void in your soul and/or your iPod.

But the band’s strength is also its weakness: The Polar Bear & Cougar feels like a continuation rather than a progression. While he’s become slightly more upbeat, he’s writing pretty much the same catchy piano-pop songs he wrote on Composure. Perhaps, however, Jones is simply declining to fix what isn’t broken. The songs on Composure were good, so why not write similar songs of similar quality? In any event, fans of either band will probably say that if the songs on The Polar Bear & Cougar are all as good as those on Composure, this shouldn’t be a problem.

And most of the songs are that good. “Sway Your Head,” which many of you will recognize from Hearts Bleed Passion 3, dares you not to nod and toe-tap along. Nothing is overdone; everything is simultaneously mature and catchy. And “Welcome Home” is a requisite ballad that shows the competition how it’s done. If bands feel compelled to write slow, acoustic-y songs, they should write songs like this. Lines like “So I have to believe that this is gonna be my year” and “When the day wakes, I arise and try again” combine the poignant and the optimistic in exactly the right proportions.

But sadly, this five-track EP has its filler as well. “Julie” has some laid-back, thoughtful verses that show promise, but the chorus is dragged down in a morass of plodding post-grunge power chords. Jones’s voice and lyrical style just aren’t suited for that kind of a song, and it falls flat. And while “The Water’s Edge” is pleasant enough in its own right, its non-descript chorus (complete with “Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh”) fails to meet the admittedly high standards set by “Sway Your Head” and “Ltfp.”

Long story short, if Waking Ashland’s break-up bummed you out, and if Mae’s ventures into the alt-rock realm make you long for a new Composure, rejoice. We Shot The Moon have just released it. Hopefully, given the new (probably more permanent) lineup, the band can continue to progress and mature. In the meantime, The Polar Bear & Cougar EP definitely has the potential to make you sway your head. And with the EP for download at Amazon MP3 for only $2.77, I’m missing whatever downside there could possibly be in this scenario.

The Headless Horseman

Rating: 7/10
Standout Tracks: “Sway Your Head,” “Welcome Home”
RIYL: Waking Ashland, Copeland, Destination:Beautiful, Something Corporate