Moonshake have featured here before, with their first EP. Today, their last proper single.
I say “their”, but by the time “Cranes” came out in 1996, Moonshake were down to only one original member, David Callahan. Original co-leader Margaret Fiedler and bassist John Frennett had gone off to form Laika, taking producer and unofficial fifth Moonshaker Guy Fixsen with them. And drummer Mig Moreland had jumped ship to join original shoegazers Moose.
“Cranes” was the first and only single from the album Dirty & Divine, which pulled back from the jazzier stylings of previous post-Fiedler LP The Sound Your Eyes Can Follow. Actually, it pulled back from complex arrangements in general, sticking largely to percussion (live and sampled), bass, saxophone and of course Callahan’s vocals. It works surprisingly well.
B sides are another album track “Gambler’s Blues” and a mostly instrumental remix of “Cranes”, re-titled “Night Tripper 2”. There was a previous “Night Tripper” (it was on a bonus 7″ accompanying an Indie Top 20 compilation) but as far as I remember, it was an unrelated track.
Moonshake – Cranes (UK CD single, 1996)
How about some shoegaze? (Not a question you should ever ask in real life, incidentally.) Moonshake were founded by Dave Callahan (usually credited, Morrissey-esque, just by his surname), formerly of C86 band The Wolfhounds, and was initially co-fronted by him and guitarist/vocalist Margaret Fiedler. Moonshake had a pretty turbulent career – they only managed one full-length album, Eva Luna, before the tension between Callahan and Fieldler’s different approaches tore the band apart, and Fiedler went off to form Laika, while Callahan continued Moonshake with more jazz influences and no guitars. Many fans of the Eva Luna-era Moonshake found Laika more to their laiking (sorry) and simply ignored everything Moonshake did post-Fiedler. Their loss; the later Moonshake albums are worth investigating in their own right.
But not right now, because for this post we’re going back to the start, and 1991’s literally-named First EP. Four tersely-titled songs and a curious, kinda folky reprise. Worth a place in any shoegazer’s collection.
Moonshake: First EP (Creation CD, 1991)