Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.


Dead Knowledge (Catbird)

Moviola consists of four American dudes from Ohio, a fact the band has always transmuted into myth via its finely crafted rural rock. Nevertheless, 2004's East of Eager found the group dipping into bluegrass and folk more than any previous release. It's a good record, but the band lacked its typical moxie, sounding subdued, even listless at times.

Three years in the making, Dead Knowledge continues Moviola's immersion in roots music, but the quartet pops and rocks with renewed purpose. In fact, the sprawling disc just might be the best release of the band's 15-year history -- easily as good as 2001's Rumors of the Faithful.

Dead Knowledge unfolds as if Moviola intentionally set out to capture our country's musical experience in its entirety. There's colonial folk, drunken Tex-Mex, field spirituals, punchy R&B, and some of the best West Coast rock since Poco dropped its Crazy Eyes LP back in '74. The piano ballad "Rudy," in particular, drips a restless melancholy that just about any lifelong Midwesterner can lap up. "You always said that living here was just a drag," sings Greg Bonnell. "Ya' shimmied up the pole and stole the flag."

Although Moviola's songwriting and musicianship has evolved greatly since 1998's Glen Echo Autoharp, the band has revived some of the disc's narcotic psychedelia. This is a welcome surprise, one that helps fuse Dead Knowledge's 16 tracks into a truly panoramic song cycle.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Speaking of CD Review

More by Justin F. Farrar

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 5, 2022

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • Open Turntable Tuesday @ The Winchester

    • Tuesdays
  • Kiry Shabazz @ Hilarities Comedy Club

    • Thu., Jan. 27
  • Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood @ Packard Music Hall

    • Thu., Jan. 27

© 2022 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation