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Moon Letters

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5 stars The sophomore release of this band from the USA. As we all know, usually that 2nd release is a bit shaky and undefined, still searching for "their sound." BUT THIS, this new album - "Thank You from the Future" - from Moon Letters is a step up from their magnificent 1st release - "Until They Feel the Sun", which was already mature and glorious.

The writing and playing is tighter, and the production is top notch. I haven't given 5 stars much lately, but this one got it upon my 2nd listening. Such a nice mix of guitars and keyboards. The rhythm section is really tight and imaginative.

I must mention the vocals, as Michael Trew is quite a unique vocalist, and yet very professional. His unique qualities add to the overall perception of the musical concept. As I stated, the rhythm section is great, but there must be a special mention to Mike Murphy's bass playing. The fretted playing tight, what it's supposed to be, but with just enough individuality to be "his sound." Along with his fretted bass playing, his fretless bass playing is sublime. I love it, as it's romantic, but still fits the overall sound of the project.

If you're looking for something new in progressive music, that fits the modern styling, yet has a bit of reflection of the golden era, Moon Letters' "Thank You from the Future" is the answer!

Report this review (#2782861)
Posted Tuesday, August 9, 2022 | Review Permalink
5 stars "a resoluteness toward life and love..."

Simmering Sophomore Release

Seattle's collective progressive musical force, MOON LETTERS, leaves the impression of five seasoned, skilled musicians giving every last ounce of creative, sacred, majestic, melodic musical enchantment in the sculpting of this their sophomore album, "Thank You From the Future."

Then, drained, drenched, and strangely invigorated, they walk together from the studio, into some spectral future, glancing, spent, into some vast galaxies and into hitherto unseen inner depths.

As corroboration and parameters, I quote the band's statement of intent, of territory to be covered, of terrain explored, "Our satellite-obsessed musicians humbly hope that these invocations reflect a resoluteness toward life and love. With desire to face that which is needed to overwhelm and overflow the fear and hate so prevalent today, we are at your service."

Overwhelm and Overflow

In such a spiritual space- even drawing from one of my favorite writers, C. S. Lewis- this quintet utilizes unexpected melodic twists and turns, guitars that sigh, wail, chime, and rock, bass tones deep and crunchy at times and other times lissome and flowing.

A multitude of keyboards creating atmospheres of symphonic splendor, cinematic drama, psychedelic/space-y textures, mystic string sounds.

The drumming that shows complexity, sensitivity to the overall musical flow, power and passion.

But the Star of the Show...

Well, for me, anyhow- the richly textured, imaginative, evocative, clean and clear, beyond lovely vocal arrangements, providing that final graceful coup de couer that puts this music into another realm entirely. The lead voice is lovely on its own, but this outfit has found a way to magnify and complement and develop the voices into some pretty special.


Compositions flow, so often with unexpected twists and turns, always with a melodicism and beauty that sometimes left me breathless. The pace would change from somber, to majestic, to lilting, to pleading. And then back again. Rich. Textured. Emotional.

Closing Thoughts

Superb example of musicality, musicianship, compositional skill, intelligence, taste, and workmanlike commitment on this sophomore release from MOON LETTERS. For me, "Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music."

Report this review (#2841096)
Posted Tuesday, September 20, 2022 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is a truly commendable record by Moon Letters. Musically, it is sound. I'm sure many prog lovers will be happy to hear this, even to own this.

I'm not one of them. I do recognize the interesting song structure, great playing and arrangements. But I do think the lyrics are clunky, the singing isn't that great and the melodies too contrived to pique my interest.

Listening to it feels like duty to me. I wouldn't do it for pleasure.

This album gets two stars from me. I do acknowledge it is well crafted and it will certainly appeal to many here at progarchives. But I'm not oneof them.

Report this review (#2841283)
Posted Wednesday, September 21, 2022 | Review Permalink
4 stars We've looked at many bands and albums over these few months, so let's keep this trend up. I have looked at more gothic bands, most notably Anglagard and Discipline, with both releasing albums that I think are all-time masterpieces. However, I never found a band that was gothic, but with the tempo of more happy bands, such as Moon Safari or Cheeto's Magazine. A more pastel goth band if you will. That is until now. 2022 has been a great year for progressive rock and it just keeps on coming at you with great releases. I doubt that fact will end any time soon but I do think it is worth talking about this album since it has become a bit of a fan favorite for me.

Moon Letters is a Seattle-based supergroup made up of members from bands such as Wah Wah Exit Wound, Spacebag, Panther Attack!, Bone Cave Ballet, and The Autumn Electric, though I am not sure if those are real bands or just made-up names to spark attention. Besides that, little is known about the group besides the fact that they made an album in 2019, Until They Feel The Sun. This sophomore album, Thank You From The Future, was released this year and has gained some notoriety. I heard about it from the Youtuber Notes Reviews, so I'd like to thank them for introducing me to this album because it is great.

The first song of Sudden Sun sets the scene for this album, featuring fast rhythmic guitars and spacey keyboards. These two factors plus the very articulate drumming do bleed some of that more joyous progressive rock moods into my veins. Honestly, it very much reminds me of Cheeto's Magazine, but a lot more hard-hitting and a bit more retro than contemporary. It is genuinely a mood lifter of a song that helps in its presentation. However, I have a problem with how this song is played out. It is a four-minute song, but it feels like it is multiple songs all at once. Now, this wouldn't be an issue, after all, many Prog epics have this sort of thing, the problem is that it's not a Prog epic, it is a four-minute song. I can never get any time to breathe because things change so rapidly that it feels less like a fun rollercoaster. It is like that one ride at a local fair that is supposed to be fun but instead jerks around causing a headache. A song that is fun but insanely chaotic doesn't help it in the long run.

This also applies to The Hrossa. It is a very fun and jovial song, with a tiny hint of what would become the main staple through this album, and that is the more gothic flair added on. However, it does still have that incredibly jerky progression, where one minute it's one thing, and the other is something else. It does try to be a bit more straightened out with the track being 6 minutes instead of 4, but the feelings are still there. These feel like concepts for something greater as a whole due to how they are presented in these differing lights, which is neat, but I do want something a little juicier without being bombarded with nothing but technical skill. There has to be something more.

And we'll get something more with the rest of the album. The first two songs were the appetizer for the main courses, with the first being Mother River. Gone is the overly fast progression; instead, we get that revitalization of that more gothic sound The Hrossa hinted at. Now, instead of just the happier and go-lucky retro progressive rock bands, we get flavors of Discipline and Anekdoten. This one-two punch of the fun and happy side, with the darkness, gives this album a very interesting and flavorful palette to work with. We can also see some very cool space influences. It feels very Syd Barretesque at times, added with the modern skill presented, with the more straightened-out progression and you'll get one great song. It is just a fun time for me to be perfectly honest.

These aspects continue with Isolation And Foreboding, which is probably the only track that is a little less happy, as seen with the title. The first half feels very mysterious, with the bass being at center stage, chugging the sound along this path. At the halfway point the song shifts gears quickly to something a lot more slower and concrete, with an almost psychedelic rock ballad that honestly moves me. It is so delicate, yet I feel like if I tear it apart it could never break. This song's title does not lie, this song does have elements of isolation and foreboding; the first half being that isolation, that mystery, the intrigue, and resolve; the second half being that foreboding, the calm yet so strong movement that sets with you even after the song ends. This has become one of my favorites of this album, and I think it is hard not to see why.

Let us liven up the mood a bit with Child Of Tomorrow. This time we get a bit more of a European-influenced track, with a clear folk identity, but not scraping away their more rock-influenced sound. It is kinda like how Urskog by Kaipa was: a very European-flavored album that hailed its flag in the retro progressive rock scene. However here we get more of that rock emphasis, which I think suits this style well. It is very atmospheric, with visions of green plains and small villages filled with people. I know this will be an odd comparison, but this feels like a Gryphon track, but if it were designed to be less folksy, and a lot more rocking. It is honestly super fun hearing this more green-flavored style of progressive rock put through a new filter.

This album has the best for last, and that is Fate Of The Alacorn. This is the best conclusion the band can make for this album, really satisfying me with a good mix of that jovial sound, that gothic sound, and even a bit of that more Kaipa-influenced retro progressive rock sound thrown into the spin of things. I especially love the ending, how it builds with these horns that go through the wringer by the guitars and drums, creating this moody and intense melody that bleeds into me. It is a track that values what came before, almost like a generation-long tribute to the first, second, third, etc songs. It is satisfying to hear such a good closure on this album?wait what? There's more? What do you mean there's more? One last song?but this is the?oh wait never mind, I guess there is still one more song left to cover.

The REAL final song for this album is Yesterday Is Gone, and to be honest, it's just fine. The track itself is basically what you might expect from this album, especially with how the album sounds, and it does do a good job of keeping the torch lit for a little while longer, but I do feel as though it is severely misplaced on the album. This does not feel like the last track on this album, it feels more suitable for the middle. With it being at the end I feel like this album, while still good, ends less with a bang and more with a whimper. Fate Of The Alacorn left me satisfied, and to be honest I am not hungry enough for dessert, so this track isn't really necessary, at least not necessary to be the final piece on this album.

I'd say if you want more good modern progressive rock you'll come to the right place with this one. It is a flavorful album that features many songs that while short leave a lasting impression on me. I will listen to some of these songs a lot more throughout the next few months because they are excellent in their stature, but some tracks are a bit lesser than those that I praised. This album isn't perfect, but I do think all and all it is a fun time that harkens back to that more fun side of progressive rock, while also adding a bit more edge to the mixer. It is like a dark chocolate cake, it is darker, but still has an aura of happiness.

Report this review (#2841439)
Posted Wednesday, September 21, 2022 | Review Permalink

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