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Moon Taxi to perform new album at The Lyric

 

Moon Taxi is no stranger to Oxford, and the band is coming back with its first appearance at The Lyric on Feb. 23.

“(Mississippi) is such a great state to play in,” guitarist and vocalist Trevor Terndrup said. “Oxford’s one of our second homes. There’s a lot of history in Mississippi. There’s still a lot of appreciation for (rock music).”

The band’s new album, “Cabaret,” exists in a space between its jam-band/progressive rock roots and The Flaming Lips, and it features guest appearances from MGMT producer Hank Sullivant and rapper Matisyahu. The band decided to delve deeper into electronic production and sounds than on its previous albums, as evidenced by the Lips-esque “Mercury.”

“We were moving away from the gritty two-guitar sound, and we wanted to incorporate some other instruments,” Terndrup said. “We wanted to differentiate the studio stuff from the new (live show). We wanted to expand our musical horizons.”

The album does not deviate too far from the band’s established and time-honored sound, however, and still features the rock sound for which the band has become known, while still experimenting with new sounds.

“‘Cabaret’ has a lot of electronic sounds, but at the same time, there’s a lot of random acoustic instruments,” Terndrup said. “There’s a ton of banjo. You put the banjo next to the synthesizer, and you get this weird, almost contrasting sound that’s very natural and harmonic and ethereal. There’s a weird dichotomy we found with those contrasting sounds, and with ‘Cabaret’ we wanted to explore that.”

“Cabaret” also features a guest appearance from rapper Matisyahu on the song “Square Circles,” a song that heavily features electronic sampling and hip-hop rhythms and encompasses the theme of contradictions found on the album.

“We got a chance to tour with him, and he dug our sound,” Terndrup said. “We found inspiration in his performances. We were about to record, and we asked him if he’d be down to throw a verse on the track. He liked the theme of the song. We were at Hangout Fest, and he recorded it in this mobile recording studio that was there.”

Though the band’s new album explores new territory instrumentally, Terndrup said he isn’t concerned about how “Cabaret” will translate live, as guitarist Spencer Thomson will be taking over sampling duties on stage.

“We’re certain to incorporate more electronic samples and sounds we found in the studio (on stage),” Terndrup said. “It’s not a fundamental change; we’ve just expanded a little bit.”

Moon Taxi has been taking its new album on the road on a short tour of Mississippi leading up to the show at The Lyric.

“We’ve played old stuff back to back with the new stuff,” Terndrup said. “I think if it has the appropriate amount of energy to it, you could play the first song you ever wrote or something that you wrote yesterday. If you’re playing it wholeheartedly and true, it’ll come across the same.”

The band is set to debut at The Lyric on Feb. 23. Doors open at 9 p.m. and the show is at 10 p.m.