It's been nearly 20 years of high marks for Lars Finberg, shocking as that calculation may be to make. Whether a basher in A-Frames and Thee Oh Sees, secret weapon of Wounded Lion, architect of Puberty and administrator of The Intelligence, his whirlwind presence has been a reliable one; that of an artist whom people look for and look toward. With outlets as varied as this, what, oh what, then prompted the emergence of a solo offering? In truth, In The Red's outta-nowhere green-lighting of the concept sent Finberg's brain bubbling toward Moonlight Over Bakersfield, a statement of entirely his own concoction...A truly swirling step from a guy who's always moving diagonally.
Followers of Finberg's recording history will immediately detect a plume of confidence around this album, an air that each successive offering has inched toward but now, at long last, has taken full bloom. It's legitimately wonderful to witness Finberg ordering off the top shelf across every aspect of the album, recognizing this as a collection of experiments and bangers deserving of such treatment. This assuredness carries over thematically, as he tackles both personal and political obsessions with equal honesty and sophistication.
The favors called in for this occasion bolster the offering as a whole. Frequent collaborators now stew with notable heavies from La Luz and Melvins/Big Business, creating Finberg's Whole New Sound. The great Mikal Cronin even guests on sax, offering sophisticated bleat as needed. Ty Segall serves as Finberg's main ally though, both at the controls and in performance. Previous valiant attempts aside, Moonlight Over Bakersfield marks Segall's first truly great achievement as producer/engineer, as if a partnership with Finberg would result in anything less.