Minor Moon is the recording project of Sam Cantor, a musician based in Somerville, Massachusetts and soon relocating to Chicago. A Whisper, A Shout, released this past December, is his début album as Minor Moon, recorded with the help of a talented bunch of musicians, including WTD favourite Dan Knishkowy.

The album opens with ‘All I Want’, a lush blend of folk and indie rock, the stark guitar warmed by Cantor’s full-bodied vocals which rise and fall from composure to vehemence and back again, creating something lonely yet fierce. A whisper, a shout. ‘Futon’ sees the guitar and bass gather momentum, providing the barroom swagger to match the drunken brashness of the lyrics, in which the narrator calls things as he sees them. Whether this is borne of clarity or anger is unclear, and indeed the momentum wanes by the final lines, as if his conviction drips away or else he begins to feel sorry for its target.

“Washed out of your clothes
Toothpaste and filtered smoke
You walk back into the cold
Howling and alone”

‘Catch and Release Pt. I’ is a mellow love song which segues into ‘Pt. II’, where the electric pulse of bass hints at an eventual climax, growing into a storm of percussion and Cantor’s howled vocals. ‘Call Out’ has a real Magnolia Electric Co. feel, isolation and sadness and fear wrapped within smart writing and swirls of instrumentation, fuelled by the insistent dread of self-doubt and bad feeling to produce something keenly honest and cathartic, yet always coloured with wry self-referential lines about that very process.

“Freakin’ out and I’d like to incinerate my dread
But I’ll fashion a metaphor instead
Like fastening a bomb to our bed
And grieving long before we’re even dead
I should reiterate this is all in my head
I leap from where I stand
I’m falling in, I’m falling in”

‘Bare Light’ is short and succinct, a rapid clatter of percussion and cryptic lyrics, while ‘Wild’ emerges wistful and wishful, the memories of a caged animal ghosting across some half-forgotten landscape. ‘I Could Fall In Love With Silence’ has a sad swagger, Cantor channelling the heart-broke strut of Otis Redding in a song which ebbs and flows from melancholy to affirmation to faraway dreams and round again. The album closes with the title track, which returns to (and expands upon) the opening song in what could either been seen as an epilogue or a direct link back to the beginning, enabling the record to be played in a continuous cycle. Either way, the track continues Cantor’s careful use of strong imagery and metaphor, invoking importance and meaning from words and phrases which might seem overwrought in other hands, and sees what is possibly my favourite writing on the album:

“Time pulls the tide with the moon for hands
While whispers incite my love again
Cacophony glides on ships to the sand
While whispers incite my love again
The dog howls ignite to the sky from the land
While whispers incite my love again
A pinhole of light is all god can command
While whispers incite my love again”

You can buy A Whisper, A Shout now from the Minor Moon Bandcamp page.