Cleveland five-piece Moon the Giant dubs its malleable sound "stretch rock," a blend of structured songs and free-form improvisation. The band's debut is suitably elastic: Cello, trumpet, and organ brighten a record that drifts from jazz noodling to multi-hued rock and roll. The standout track "Not Particularly" begins as a sad-eyed torch song driven by frontman Jacob Fader's rueful wail, then slowly builds into a boisterous funk freakout with screaming brass. "A Picture" works keys and dirty slide guitar into an outburst of white-boy soul, complete with layered harmonies and a fleet rhythm section.
About the only unifying element on this diffuse disc is the consistently excellent playing -- especially the guitar work of Fader. From solos that drip magma to slobbering power chords, he adds girth to the notoriously thin jam-band sound. Paired with the band's adventurous songwriting, this is one of the year's most dynamic local releases.