Apocalypticism by Moon Walker – Album Review
Apocalypticism by Moon Walker – Album Review
Apocalypticism, the title of the latest Moon Walker album, refers to a belief in a violent Christian Armageddon—the final battle between the virtuous and the sinful. This album signals that this war has already begun, and our world is currently engaged in it.
Not to be overly dramatic, as this isn’t a Christian album per se, but it does incorporate topics of war, paranoia, and brutality underpinned with strangely danceable rhythms. This is a report on how we cope with the direction our society is heading. This theme is increasingly prevalent as the message of the modern musician. While the first American psychedelic era wrote about the hatred of Nixon and the Vietnam War, a more generalized take on how violence and loathing have infiltrated daily life seems to have overtaken the contemporary songwriting process. Thematically, Springer’s lyrics, as a rule, are focused on calling out the evils of the establishment. The rich and powerful controlling the poor and helpless; the brainwashing baked into televised entertainment news; the dangers of corporatism. The album isn’t treading any new ground here lyrically or musically, but that’s not the point. An artist captivatingly expressing his point of view is Moon Walker’s strength.
Apocalypticism is the third album from Moon Walker, aka Harry Springer, who singularly writes, performs, and records the songs in his bedroom studio. After his previous band was forced into COVID statis, Springer began writing library music for film and TV. He soon realized he wanted more control over his output instead of conforming to the rigid guidelines of the for-hire music industry. During this fruitful time of prolific songwriting for libraries and other artists, coupled with the streaming success of the second Moon Walker album, The Attack of the Mirrors, he signed a lucrative publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music.
The title track draws the listener in with harmonized vocals and synth pads reminiscent of ELO or Queen in the mid-seventies. Thematically, the song is about an angry misanthrope who takes arms against the powerful perceived to have wronged him. It also deals with the desire to bring the overabundance of hate and savagery that permeates American culture to a finality. The lyrics are timely, condemning the alt-right movement, war, and barbarity in the name of religion. And all to a stomping Aussie psych beat!
Photo by Maddison McConnell
The breathy, harmonized choruses of “Monkey See, Monkey Do” are a signature feature of the album. A couple songs later, “Them” employs a similar rhythmic breathing chorus. Catchy beats and chunky guitar riffs are matched with a high-pitched, almost shredding metal solo, bringing the song to a majestic climax.
“The Hivemind (One Foot)” features a syncopated Latin beat, giving it a funkier feel than most of the other tracks. The outro guitar solo is reminiscent of Robert Fripp’s King Crimson output from the Seventies. Springer proves to be an accomplished guitarist on this album, seemingly his main instrument. With a penchant for Zeppelin-esque solos, his Les Paul screams like Jack White, or more possibly Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (or is that John Frusciante?) from the Mars Volta.
“Them” has a certain paranoia at the heart of the lyricism. The overtly religious nature of the lyrics only points out the morality encapsulated in the Moon Walker catalog. There’s a Trent Rezner vibe to the vocals with a powerful industrial plod to the bass rhythm in the verses while the choruses unfold into a poppier musical mood. This is not the first single on the album, but it could be the second.
The descending chord sequence “Give the People What They Want” aids Moon Walker in projecting the feeling of drowning hopelessness portrayed in the lyrics. The hostile, distorted vocal effects near the end punctuate Springer’s disillusionment with the status quo of modern living, pointing out the daily distractions of American life that steer us away from career fulfillment, proper parenting, etc.
You can see a progression in the three Moon Walker albums. The first, Truth to Power (2021), had a funkier thread throughout, and the guitar riffing was more prevalent. That first offering, though more foot-tapping, was still underlined with an enraged vocal ferocity and lyrical hopelessness. The second, The Attack of the Mirrors (2022), intensified the desolation while losing some of the infectious rhythms from his debut. This third record features even less groove and has a more victimized feel to the lyricism. While not quite as engaging as the previous Moon Walker releases, Apocalypticism still packs a powerful punch and is well-worth a deep listen.