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The Moore Brothers

• The Moore Brothers

Ah, here's a beauty.

The acoustic pop of Thom and Greg Moore epitomizes that soft and literally soothing music that is so important and so hard to find. Many of the superlative tunes here are supported by nothing more than a solo rhythmic acoustic guitar. When there is more, it never takes center stage, which is always reserved for the perfect tones of the Moore Brothers vocals.

Their harmonies are inventive, even inspired, but their unison singing is equally impressive. Melodious is an understatement in their case, but the lyrics are subtle and provocative, like the record's title, like its cover: a pale white woman in a skirt, mysteriously semi-fetal on the ground.

This pair of Northern Californian brothers have released four full-length records and one EP, contributed to a number of compilations and embarked on several side projects to boot. Greg did an album with Lois Maffeo called The Owl and the Pussycat and also cut several solo CDs under the name Sandy Coates. Thom recorded Summerland (on the Kill Rock Stars label), with Nedelle Torrisi, and has an a capella duo called Chicken on a Raft.

The more I listen to this pretty record, the harder it is to believe it was made these days. It's like Elliot Smith hanging out with the Incredible String Band. As if the softness isn't surreal enough, consider that it was recorded by Jean Renoir's grandson, Jhon, at Hiroshi House Studios in paradisiacal Grass Valley, CA.

I'm not licensed to prescribe medicinal music, but I find this record to have theriacal properties against not only the hammering of the world, but against the abrasiveness of my own personality. I think it's good for you, in plainer words. It's naïve, it's brave. It's great. • Frank Goodman

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