Zeelley Moon – The Author And The Dreamer

Zeelley Moon – The Author and the Dreamer

We’ve had to patiently wait six years for Zeelley Moon to create a follow-up to the self-titled debut release in 2017 – a thoroughly captivating album which exudes musical elegance and melodic charm. Crikey – The wait has most certainly been worth it. Patrick Molesworth has excelled in crafting a truly seductive tapestry of soundscapes, fondly recalling the character of the first album whilst packing a focus, a purpose and creative energy which signals the emergence of something new and exciting.

The sound, the character and the progressions of opening track Main Moon Man are a warm and welcoming embrace in their reminiscence of and continuity with the debut album. A gently rippling keyboard majestically erupts with a melodic guitar soaring over textured keyboards before the distinctive vocal kicks in.

Yet what soon becomes clear is that this is not an exercise in merely mirroring what has gone before. Novelty emerges from within the continuity. There is a sharper, more intense, more substantial feel to the music. The majestic guitar work is beautifully responsive to the rolling layers crafted by the busy keyboards, which in turn shapes the resonant spaces in which the vocals can thrive.

Indeed, what quickly emerges as you listen to the album is the dedication and commitment to the intricate and often playful interactions between all the instruments which adds an incisive edge and an absorbing character to each song, along with an aching pathos. Four Walls, for example, is a gorgeous little vignette which lasts a mere one-and-a-half minutes, but within that space it manages to hold an entire world in its hands. It is different in tone as well as in attitude from the previous tracks, creating a mellow but insistent wall of sound which serves as a backdrop to calm harmonies framing a deeply introspective atmosphere.

Or, for example, take So Many Words. Again we are presented with a change of mood and a different spirit infusing the music. It is moody and carefully measured. Fabulous bass work keeps the march of time and energy flowing across the track. Lovely punchy harmonies emerge for the refrain. Interspersed with bass and keys, the guitar punches itself forward, demands your attention, and then leaves you in the air, like a leaf settling back down on rippling keys. These perfect instrumental interjections, each creating space for the other, fashion a fabulous tapestry of mesmerising intertwining soundscapes.

To my mind, there is little doubt this innate, organic instrumental flow, beautifully crafted, perfectly executed and effortless in its musical expression, is the result of a second distinctive feature of the album: structural complexity.

There are two tracks which last for over nine minutes. English Pride opens with intricate keyboards leading into an atmospheric opening before an insistent drum beat sets the pace for the rest of the song. A series of well-sequenced transitions drive the momentum forward. The guitar riffs share the load with the keys, ably supported in turn by the drums unmistakably marking the shifting passages, alongside flute overlays.

At the 5:35 point, momentum shifts. A solo piano is offset by a beautifully laid-back riffing guitar over a spoken voice. The passage is wonderfully atmospheric. Gorgeous harmonies invite you to drift away, lifted by lovely Hammond layers which soar and sweep across the musical canvas. It’s a delight. Get those air guitars out: no shame here.

Where the Wind Blows at nearly ten minutes is the longest track on the album. That imperious guitar again leads the way, driving the music forward, lifting us up and beyond, setting the scene for the melodic vistas which open up along the way. The transitions are marked by shifting textures in the soundscapes – drums, guitar and keyboards all dancing around each other, taking turns to lead or to lay down the bed on which others can take centre stage. The guitar riffs again. Bloody hell: Wow! Yet it is nothing without what the keyboards are doing to underpin it, enable it, let it be what it is.

Add into this heady mix Patrick’s undeniable lyrical prowess, which captures the mood and the pathos of our time. His songwriting sparkles with inventiveness, keen-eyed observations and whimsical reflections which pack drive, energy and inspiration. These gorgeous sketches are a testament to musical storytelling at its very finest.

The album hasn’t been out for long but already never strays far from my player. It also made the Top 5 of my ‘Best of 2023’ selections. The Author and the Dreamer is a thoroughly enchanting and irresistible musical experience. The fascinating interplay of the instruments, the finely crafted complexities of the song structures and the poetic lyricism all serve to create an album which is refreshing, evocative and highly enjoyable.

01. Main Moon Man (5:17)
02. English Pride (9:18)
03. Four Walls (1:35)
04. Killing the Dream (4:53)
05. Where the Wind Blows (9:55)
06. Poison in My Tea (3:54)
07. So Many Words (7:32)

Total Time – 42:24

Pat Molesworth – Piano, Hammond Organ, Keyboards, Arrangements, Vocals
Jim Kelleher – Guitars, Bass
Sarah Mau – Cello, Violin
Aled Peter Lloyd – Drums
Steve Picking – Bass (tracks 1 & 6)
Meg Prickett – Additional vocals
Katherine Sparks – Flute

Record Label: Zeelley Moon Music
Formats: CD, Digital
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 20th November 2023

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