One week ago today Moose Jaw musician Jared Robinson released the third installment from his one-man-band LunarTheory. For the past several weeks I’ve had the opportunity to listen to the album, titled An Unforeseen Impossible Outcome, over and over — and over again. I love the album so much, and am so invigorated by it’s potential, that today I am dedicating my column to playing the role of a music critic, to tell you just why I think it’s worth your time to listen to it and that you, Moose Jaw, should be proud.
First, let me begin by saying that I have no predisposition whatsoever to this genre of music; if a genre can be applied to something that sounds so unique and so fresh. Second, let me say that the only thing that qualifies me to write this, if anything, is that I come from a long line of music lovers and have loved music for as long as my memory has served me. Also, as an aspiring musician myself, I listen to all music with an extremely critical ear, and truthfully, find most of it to be crap.
With that being said, let me begin.
Like an alchemist of audio, Robinson blends the seemingly incompatible elements of classical piano, orchestral strings and xylophone with prog-rock drumming, powerful guitar, and both fragile and aggressive yet coherent and purposeful vocals; sprinkled atop with the industrial sounds of war, which Robinson enlists unorthodox instruments to create such as a hammer on anvil, banging copper pipes or throwing a coin into a metallic cup to create just the right sounds for his unique elixir.
What you’re left with is a tonic of sonic solid gold. Like a super-sonic symphony, LunarTheory creates a sound so powerful and vivid that it draws you in to the fantastic world he creates.
The album opens up with the fragile glass-like sounds of a piano lullaby, then the build, then a double-dose of double-kick drumming straight to the eardrum. The breaks are fast and hard, the vocals soft and reassuring — yet full of angst, hope and despair. From this point on, the album is a roller coaster of emotion that pulls you up and down throughout the fantasy world Robinson has pulled you into.
Accomplishing what so few bands seem to, An Unforeseen Impossible Outcome is whole, complete and coherent. What could properly be called a theme album, the sound and story follow an intelligible arch and no sound or lyric ever seems out of place from track one to track 10. The album is a piece of artwork as a whole, not to be dissected — no crap, no filler.
The story is of a time that could be now, but could be then, or perhaps is of a time yet to come. It is a creative anachronism based on the Great World Wars of the past and the futuristic challenges we face today. The sounds and words tell a story of losing and finding hope in the face of utter despair: “No matter how far we fall, you have to know we’re gonna get through, regardless of the writing on the wall, you know I’ll be right there to help you,” from the album's title track which features another Moose Jaw talent, Ursa Maja. The song is the story of a father guiding his son through the end of days, both beautifully and devastatingly plausible, the lyrics are pure brilliance and relevance: “We bled the earth until she was dead, Third World nations went unfed, our pockets grew fat instead, so now we’ll lay in this bed that we made. Son, it seems unfair you have to pay, since we destroyed this world before you ever lived a single day.” As a father to be, these lyrics touch on fears I’ve felt for years, and couldn’t be more moving to me, but are relevant to everyone, everywhere.
Other track titles lay the story arch for the album: Fight For Something, The Letter, Airship (We’re Going In), The War Is Won, The Things I’ve Done. Like a cinematic epic, the story is of finding cause, victory, hope and defeat. But you’ll have to listen to the album to experience this for yourself.
One second you’re listening to beautifully relaxing violins that set you at peace, the next you are swept up in a huge musical swell so invigorating that you feel you could climb mountains in single bounds. The album could only truly be performed live by an epic rock orchestra, just listen to the track The War Is Won and you will know exactly what I’m talking about — epic rock orchestra. And like an orchestra, no element overpowers the other, the vocals become just another instrument and the idea of a front man in the band is lost to the whole of this sonic story.
I once asked Robinson why all the cosmic references; ‘LunarTheory,’ his studios ‘Nebulous Entertainment,’ and the appearance by ‘Ursa Maja,’ a play on the constellation Ursa Major. Robinson said he likes to think of creating his music like exploring space — something unknown to be discovered and explored. And indeed, with this album, Lunar Theory has created a sonic space so fresh and unexplored that it’s like landing on the moon.
Dustin Gill can be reached at 691-1263.