Dante DeCaro (Hot Hot Heat and Wolf Parade) fronts Johnny and the Moon, a pleasantly engaging and sloppy folk/rock ensemble from Canada that doesn't recall much of DeCaro's previous associations. Featuring such unconventional instrumentation as toy piano and wind chimes, the band's self-titled debut is a beautifully cluttered mess, with songs that pay tribute to Dylan (circa Basement Tapes) and Paul Westerberg at his most inebriated. "The Ballad of Scarlet Town" and "All Things Gonna Come Back Around" are songs that have melodies so fine that even a lack of musicianship can't wreck them. Of course, the ramshackle playing only adds to the charm as DeCaro, Lindy Gerrard and Mark Devoe explore the narratives of traditional folk and then turn the whole genre upside down. Johnny and the Moon are a playful unit capable of a surprisingly effective survey of roots music that treats the source material with the proper amount of respect and contempt.
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