Last week’s Local Artist of the Week on Bro Radio featured the lighter-waving, all-round foot-tapper of a track, “Pale Moon” from Don Ya Ya, or as others may know him, Owen Powell from Wales’ very own Catatonia.
The story – one we all know and have a love/hate relationship with; the late night walk home. AT least, that’s my takeaway from this smooth flowing Rock ballad.
Be it a late shift, movie night with a friend, or the latest check-in at the local, we’ve all taken made the journey home under the watchful eye of the great lunar lamp. ‘Pale moon my only friend, pale moon until the end’ sings Don Ya Ya, pleading with his dear friend to guide him on his way, whether that be an emotional or physical path is for you to decide.
The introductory reverberated drum kit acts as a spokesman for the vibe of this number, setting the tone early on for what is a catchy, uplifting and somewhat anthemic piece of music. The continuous, deep thud of the kick drum throughout the verse paints the picture of many hundreds of feet stamping rhythmically along to this track in a field somewhere, arms raised high and waving in appreciation, whilst the odd pair of hips sway metronomically to the steady four chord repetition we hear from a very rich electric piano.
As we progress into the chorus, the desire to sing along becomes increasingly difficult to resist, as simple yet effective harmonies annunciate the titular lyric “Pale Moon”, and falsetto adlibs drag us deeper into the ambience of the track, as though communally we stumble hand in hand with Don Ya Ya down an empty street, gazing up at the Earth’s night light.
As the track texture strips back, Don Ya Ya expertly captures the imagery of the night sky with a falling high register keys fill; twinkling stars smiling down on him as he smiles back at his lunar love, bringing us back for a final verse and chorus rotation, and edging closer to the inevitable 2nd listen…followed by many more.
Highlights? For me it’s the belt-it-back-to-me chorus and the strong melody setting. It’s the kind of track that when we’re (forgive the cliché) “back to normal”, I’d love to listen to with a beer in my hand and the other round a mate’s shoulder, drunkenly slurring “Pale Moon” just a little bit too loud for the people standing in front. The lyrics work in a way that I think would communally resonate for their relatability, because who can honestly say they’ve never looked up at the night sky and said “God, look at the moon tonight! Isn’t it beautiful”.