Monday, January 26, 2009

The Moody Lyons of San Francisco

The Moody Lyons are left to right, Eric Olson, Robert Serviss, Matt Harman and Matthew Kelly.

Everyone should listen to the San Francisco band The Moody Lyons, who recently played a great show downtown. The four-piece band consisting of vocalist/guitarist Matt Harman, bassist Robert Serviss, keyboardist Eric Olson, and drummer Matthew Kelly, who all met at San Francisco State College, are now beginning to be very serious musicians. They all share a house in Daly City on the outskirts of San Francisco, where they have all their instruments set up to practice in the basement, where they play really loud.

The Moody Lyons have recently released an EP titled Broke, Busted & Disgusted that consists of four songs. The first one, "Sometimes I Just Want To Sit," reminds me a lot of The Ramones, who are one of the many bands the Moody Lyons worship. The band actually has a wide variety of influences that range from classic punk bands like The Clash, to glam punk like The New York Dolls, and then there is that 60s classic guitar rock influence like The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds.

"Sometimes I Just Want To Sit" is definitley a punk song with a lot of energy with the "Let's go! Alright!" chant sounding a lot like The Ramones "Blitzkrieg Bop," which has a similer tempo when they sing, "Hey oh, let's go." The verses sound punk mixed with a bit of a psychedelic rock sound as the background vocals go, "Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh," behind the main punk rock vocal melody. Robert Serviss also breaks down this song in the middle with a really nice bass solo, which leads into a shredding guitar solo by Matt Harman and then back into another bass solo, and then a drum solo by Matthew Kelly, displaying the wide variety of talent within the band.

The second song "Paint The White House Black" has a similar punk sound to "Sometimes I Just Want To Sit," but this time Eric Olson's keyboards come out a lot stronger to drive the overall riff in the song. This song reminds me a lot more of a rock song even though it has punk elements to it; you can see the influence of bands like The Rolling Stones.

"Cold As Hell" begins with clapping and progresses with some loud punk verses by vocalist guitarist Harman. The middle of the song has an interesting keyboard solo by Olson and some more nice riffs that are once again reminicent of The Ramones classic sound with Harman shouting, "She's cold as hell."

The final cut on the EP, the six-minute-plus "The Lyons Lament," is by far the masterpiece of the four songs. It sounds nothing like the other three in the sense that it has a lot more classic rock influence then punk. The song begins with a magnificent keyboard intro by Eric Olson that reminds me a lot of Jethro Tull's "Locomotive Breath." Then Kelly's drums come in leading into the beautiful guitar soloing of Matt Harman.The lyrics work fantastically with the song's bluesy guitar melody, "You keep saying, somebody save me. You go crazy, you go crazy. You get older, your life's colder." The song then breaks down with some more solid jamming between band members and comes to a close with more of Olson's keyboard fading out.

Matt Harman strumming an acoustic guitar

Overall The Moody Lyons seem to have a lot of potential to break through in the San Francisco music scene. They'll play in San Francisco at the Retox Lounge this Thursday, January 29th and their EP will be available to purchase. Another Moody Lyons show will be on February 12, in San Francisco at The Rockit Room. If you want to listen to their songs on myspace you should check them out.

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