Gainesville, Fla., has long been a hotbed for talented musicians, and two veterans of that scene have come together to form Coffee Project. The duo, consisting of Jake Crown (Rehasher) on vocals, guitar and harmonica, and Buddy Schaub (Less Than Jake) on trombone, guitar and vocals, play simple but catchy folk pop, much in the same vein as acts like Andrew Jackson Jihad. Moved On is the band's highly infectious debut full-length, following up the enjoyable Easy Does It EP and Pickle EP.
The album begins with "Easy Does It", a fast, catchy song about the importance of family. Crown's guitar playing and lyrics could be criticized for being overly simple, but they have a charming, earnest quality that yearns for loud sing-alongs and multiple listens. Backing vocals from Kim Helm (Whiskey & Co.) help flesh out the song, as does the appearance of Schaub's unmistakable trombone. Helm provides backup on a number of the album's songs, including the excellent first single "This Is Me Getting Over You in Two Chords or Less", a song dealing with love, loss and moving on. Those themes, as well as growing older, are common topics in Coffee Project's songs, all of which are dealt with on slower track "Empty Bottles of Foxhorn". With lyrics such as "I've been shedding skin and it's changing who I am" and "I'm jealous of all the things I did when I was young," we find an older Crown adjusting to adulthood while reminiscing about times past.
The band revisits both tracks from the Pickle EP on this release. "Oh Sweet Pickle", a love song from a man to his cat, remains virtually unchanged from its original version. The guitar and trombone are fast and the lyrics are cute, making this catchy tune one of the album's best songs. Pickle appears again later in another album highlight, "The Further Adventures of Pickle". This time, the titular feline goes missing, returning "fat from the wet food," which inspires a brief lament on leaving a beloved pet behind. "Big Trouble in Little Gainesville", the second track originally appearing on the band's Pickle EP, undergoes a much more substantial makeover. The slowed-down tempo and strings from punk rock fiddler extraordinaire Jon Gaunt work well in highlighting the bittersweet lyrics about growing older in a town full of young college students, feeling distant from that life but still having that love for your home that keeps drawing you back.
Not content to rest on their laurels, the duo have a number of tracks here that deviate from their standard guitar-vocals-trombone style. "The Everlasting Trip" is a folksy, optimistic number complete with Crown on harmonica and guest Michael Claytor accompanying the band on his banjo. Crown picks up his harmonica again on "Deal Me In", a Buddy-sung track about moving forward in a relationship despite the uncertainty of the future. It's a nice change of pace and another of the album's best tracks.
Ultimately, Moved On is as fun as it is heartfelt. There's enough variety in the music to keep it interesting, eliciting a high replay value for me. And the straightforward lyrical content will resonate strongly with many listeners, especially those still dealing with the transition into adulthood years after legally becoming one (or those of us who just like cats).