Hanalei - We Are All Natural Disasters (Cover Artwork)


Hanalei: We Are All Natural DisastersWe Are All Natural Disasters (2004)
Thick Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5

Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Hanalei is the solo efforts of one Brian Moss, started several months prior to the disbandment of Chicago's post-punk outfit The Ghost. Where as The Ghost capitalized on a number of influences that ran the gamut from Hot Water Music to [insert legendary Chicago punk band here], Moss orchestrates thi.
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Hanalei is the solo efforts of one Brian Moss, started several months prior to the disbandment of Chicago's post-punk outfit The Ghost. Where as The Ghost capitalized on a number of influences that ran the gamut from Hot Water Music to [insert legendary Chicago punk band here], Moss orchestrates things a little differently - We Are All Natural Disasters is a wonderful little bout of partially-electro, acoustically-accompanied indie pop with slight shades of folk.

Though Moss might owe a debt of gratitude to The Postal Service for popularizing the "smooth, pretty indie male pop vocals over electronic programming" thing, there's a definite Kinsella-like sound in the guitar tone and overall expression musically. Maybe it's the incredibly soothing nature of Moss's voice, or the boggling complexity of a one-man project, but I'm sure fans of Owen's last effort would find a lot of enjoyment in We Are All Natural Disasters as well.

At first, Moss rotates between tracks relying heavily on electronics and pure acoustic-and-drum-machine-led tracks - the first four literally take turns favoring either the programming or simple acoustics. As the disc continues, however, the formula really seems to die, with Moss either throwing in sparse amounts of blips or following string-heavy compositions. Though the best songs are spread out nicely, the latter half could be a bit stronger in areas, as its melodies seem to die in favor of irritable repetitions. The album itself is fairly consistent, though, as you might still find yourself singing along as "John Hughes Endings" rolls in.

"Action Drum" is easily the standout, as it opens with a modest drumloop only to suddenly collaborate with upbeat acoustics and Moss's fleetly sang lines of "concrete veins and fast food chains / stretch out on purgatory's plains / they are ruins still in tact / they are apathetic shrines / they are soul sucking traps." It's simply, overall, a wonderful pop song to open the disc and the best first impression of a kind that can be made, as it best showcases the flow of Moss's voice as well. His background yells of "fractured frames cannot confine us! / empty names cannot define us!" during the chorus is the icing on the cake. Based solely on the merits of this song, Hanalei should be huge.

"Hopeful Hands" is a catchy number, too, with Moss flexing his lyrical muscle singing "I've got a comma in my pocket / and you've got a dot dot dot / we could steal some sugar from blank pages / we could taste life if we don't get caught." There's really strong songwriting elements to be found just about everywhere on the disc, as though Moss does sing about relationships and romance the majority of the time, he's vague or symbolic enough to constantly get away with it fine; it really helps carry the album.

We Are All Natural Disasters is, while a bit weak in areas, a fine listen and a worthy debut with a lot of replayability. Brian Moss's one-man collaborations are apparently creative enough to hold up for an entire full-length, and I'll be following wherever Hanalei takes him.

Action Drum
Josh And Sarah's Belated Wedding Present


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (December 30, 2004)

i think this stuff is allright...
i could live without the drum machine electro fluff

would like to just hear him and his guitar if he's going this route... just something more raw for a change... even his acoustic stuff is watered down...

the band's recordings (the ghost) would have been much better without all the fluff too. the best ghost recording ever is the song on the think oil comp.. so raw! no fluff! why fluff the acoustic?????

brian is a great songwritter though.. i'll agree...
but the fluff just rubs me the wrong way.... i'll leave this at 7 out of 10

sorry just
my 2 cents

Anonymous (December 30, 2004)

I'm wondering how long Brian will be able to put up with himself and not quit like every other band member he's been with.

Anonymous (December 28, 2004)

I love this record more and more everytime i hear it. top 5 of 2004 in my list.

Anonymous (December 28, 2004)

Me too!

Anonymous (December 28, 2004)

I drink Koala pee.


Anonymous (December 25, 2004)

they've gone one last show coming up in january

Anonymous (December 25, 2004)

When did The Ghost break up? Thats fucking horrible news to find out on Christmas.

lou (December 25, 2004)

RIP the ghost.
i've only heard hopeful hands, and i could easily foresee the rest of the disc being fairly solid.
mike kinsella is good company to be in.

Anonymous (December 25, 2004)

i thought this said helmet, but its not. helmet rocked.

Anonymous (December 24, 2004)

this cd is okay but dont dare compare it to mike kinsella

xmidipunkbastardx (December 24, 2004)

beautiful record
ugly cover

TheBouncingSoul (December 24, 2004)

i love this record..."beacon in the distance" is the standout

Anonymous (December 24, 2004)

no but neither are you? it's easy enough to piss you off isn't it.


Anonymous (December 24, 2004)

Who are you, the supreme authority of all music?


Anonymous (December 24, 2004)

i told you to listen to this didnt i?


Anonymous (December 24, 2004)

i saw him (them? he had another guy with him) open for the new trust. i enjoyed it.

Jesse (December 24, 2004)

Oops, I had more to say. I just don't feel this type of music to be effective in delivering political lyrics. He should just go straight folk-rock, and ditch the whole electro-pop schtick.

Jesse (December 24, 2004)

I've just never been able to get into it. I saw him play live, and after one of his songs he said, "I just realized how absolutely horrible that song really is. I really hate it." I couldn't have agreed with him more. It was a terrible song.

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