The crowd had thinned considerably after 12 hours of music, but Sneak Attack Media showcase headliners More Amor nevertheless remained in high spirits throughout the duration of their midnight set during the kickoff of 2008’s CMJ Music Marathon in New York City Tuesday. “We’re the world’s largest band!” joked guitarist/vocalist Tom Oakes from the low stage at underground venue Rehab, where an iPod, two microphone stands and a mustached mannequin constituted the majority of vital gear. The former member of Las Vegas’ The Higher, who parted ways with the now-four-piece R&B-poppers in February to explore new musical horizons with Kyle Lobeck—frontman of late Vegas outfit You in Series—was especially chatty, riffing on selling out Madison Square Garden the previous evening (they hadn’t), his role as Carlos Santana’s understudy (he isn’t) and his willingness to be the recipient of free drinks (he was).
The six-song set included highlights from September’s self-titled debut, a melding of laid-back ’60s pop and ultra-modern blips and beats. References to new home base Los Angeles pervaded the harmony-drenched “Young Hollywood” and “OB Forever,” the latter featuring a barrage of alternating lead vocals concerning a day of beachside drug use that Lobeck described as taking him “right back to that day, when the waves were talking to me.” But it was closer “Same Damn Song,” with lyrics referring to a “desire to know what it’s like to be heard” that offered the most candid glimpse into the duo’s determination to break from the past.
“We know there’s a lot of room for improvement. We’re not planning to be perfect yet,” Oakes admitted after the allotted half-hour, More Amor’s fifth show ever. “But we’re having fun again. We can do whatever we want onstage. And we’re going to keep doing that.”