The operative part in “New Cornucopia!,” the title of the new full-length by And The Moneynotes, is the exclamation point.
Listen to “Hornaplenny,” the last tune, and you’ll feel it. Listen to the hollered call and response in “Wait I Get Ya,” and you’ll hear it there, too. Same goes for “The Amazing Properties of Chauncey Brown.”
Now let the ballad “Rascal of Lisbon” sink in, specifically the delicate, irony-free guitar solo.
Like all great albums, “New Cornucopia!” — out July 29 on Prairie Queen Records — has impactful moment after impactful moment. Maybe that solo is your moment. Maybe you’ll find it elsewhere, like in “Bolinda’s” exuberant hand claps or the plaintive trombone in “Rascal’s Reprise.”
“They’ve got one of everything,” the 7-piece band sings in “Hornaplenny,” and it’s self-referential; throughout the album, there’s acoustic and electric guitar, fiddle, piano, assorted percussion and lots of vocals, some sung, some yelled.
It’s the sum total of And The Moneynotes’ abilities and decisions, though, that drives the 13 songs.
Diversity and pacing is important here. Mitchell Williams’ “Rascal of Lisbon,” the slow grind of Mike Quinn’s “What Brings You Here” and the traded Williams/Quinn vocals on “Too Sweet” break up the quicker songs effectively.
The sly lyrics deserve praise as well. “The Moonshine” delves into topical territory, wondering whatever happened to the Moonshine Theatre in Scranton. “I don’t think anybody owns it/ I’m afraid the Moonshine is abandoned,” Williams sings. “Who’s supposed to hand us all the answers?/ ’Cause all we want is answers.”
“Chauncey Brown” fantastically describes a man with “teeth instead of eyes” and the challenge of imagining being only three feet tall.
There are at least two trends bucked throughout. The assumption that indie rock cannot be fun is blown to smithereens. Secondly, the theory that the album is a lost art form — killed by CD singles and downloads — is premature at best when you consider releases like “New Cornucopia!” The songs meant to be experienced together; they refer to and rely on each other. “Rascal’s Reprise” revisits the melody of “Rascal of Lisbon,” and things are taken a step further when “A Pirate’s Confession III” resonates with “A Pirate’s Confession” from last year’s “This Year We Hunt” EP.