I get a lot of submissions from labels and PR reps. When Roie Avin of Royal Avenue Media (and InsideOut and the Prog Report) sent me “A Boat on the Sea” by Moron Police, I wasn’t blown away. I listened and thought it was just average. I shelved it and didn’t review it. I do make it a habit of revisiting albums like that in case I missed something the first time around. I definitely missed A LOT the first time around.
First off, don’t let the name fool you. Yes, Moron Police is a funny name and they do have a wry wit to some of their lyrics but they are anything but a comedy band. The band merge very technical playing which can be VERY prog with incredibly catchy melodies and choruses. “A Boat on the Sea” kicks off with the short opener “Hocus Pocus” which is NOT the Focus song. The song is really great but over too quickly. It sounds like half a song so I do wish they had developed it more.
Things really get going after that with 3 exceptional tracks that culminates with one of my favorite tracks “Beware the Blue Skies.” The band have a bright sound so the dichotomy within the lyrics really works. After it is what I would say is the weakest track “The Dog Song.” It does have funny, clever lyrics but the music sounds a bit like Rusted Root or something. Matt (Restless Amoeba) mentioned that Moron Police sound like O.A.R. and I think that’s a good comparison from a melody stand point.
The final three songs on “A Boat on the Sea” are my favorites. “Captain Awkward” melts a very weird tech part with a big AOR sound and somehow it really works. “The Undersea” is a song that should be on the radio somewhere and the closer “Isn’t It Easy” is my favorite track. HOLY SHIT that song is amazing! It’s got some sick playing and a chorus that’s in my head as I am typing this review.
The album is a bit too short at 33 minutes though. It could use another song or two (along with expanding the opening track). But it’s hard to hold that against Moron Police when you consider just how great this album is otherwise. I am really glad I went back and re-listened to this album! It’s a shame I waited until after 2019 was over because this would have made my top 20 of 2019. Don’t sleep on this album like I did!