Moving Parts – “Moving Parts” (1983)

This is another of the local records I picked up a few weeks back over at Tacoma’s Hi-Voltage Records. Their section of Northwest bands was a treasure trove of mostly-forgotten Seattle-area music from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s, before grunge changed everything.

I wasn’t familiar with Moving Parts and suspected that finding anything about the band would be challenging, but the second Google link revealed an interesting and insightful band history written by some of the former members. You can check it out HERE, as well as catch up on their current project Empire of Sleep. Like so many bands, the fickle hand of fate turned success into defeat for Moving Parts, when their contract with Epic was halted at the very last minute after Sony took over that business and killed it. They simply never recovered and couldn’t get any other interest after that.

Moving Parts put out a 7″ in 1982 and followed it with a five-song 12″ the next year, which is the record I’ve been spinning. Their sound fits nicely into the period, a slightly more post-punky new wave a little reminiscent of Wang Chung when they were still Huang Chung. I know, I know… that’s lazy blogging right there, saying “this band reminds me of this other band that you’ve heard of”. Sorry. “Cities Return to Me” best captures the mood of the record as a whole, though the more up tempo “Princess and the President” is the most intriguing. I’ve been trying to figure out how to best describe James Irwin’s vocals – melancholy isn’t the right word because there really isn’t any sadness here. Indifferent implies he doesn’t care about what he’s doing, so that doesn’t fit either. His voice has that sort of Generation X (the generation of people, not the Billy Idol band)… resignation, perhaps? It’s that feeling of “we’re not going to get too up or too down here”. It’s even there when he shows more range as he does on “Nothings Gonna Bring Me Down”. His voice sounds like how many of us felt then, and there’s a lot to be said for that.