It's 1 a.m. on a Saturday night in late June. The heat inside the overcrowded confines of Atlanta's The Point hands over everyone's shoulder like a half-drunk, heavy breathing, companion. Red velvet upholstered amps and speaker cabinets seem to melt into the stage as the bright room lights dim and a solitary red light washes down from directly overhead. Four thin figures climb onto stage and begin tapping microphones, strapping on guitars...their movements slow and dreamlike as though paddling through wine. The singer moves to his mic and in a hushed, breathy voice begins: Out of your closet and onto your front porch / you scream at the world just how you feel / Maybe they ll care or maybe they won t / It s probably better if they don t, I know they won t, because..... There s about a five second pause as a collective shiver of anticipation runs through the crowd. Suddenly, as the band kicks in full tilt the singer screams: Heeee s aaaaaaaaaaa girrrrrrrl! ...and the crowd is thrust head first into a 90 minute sonic adventure, an overdue vacation to a world where rhythm reigns and melody invokes passion and mayhem... This is a typical, dead of Summer, hometown gig for Moonwater, an eclectic amalgamation of Tennessee transplants and homegrown Atlanta natives who, since forming in early 1994, have set out to blaze an hallucinogenic path through the deep South s musical underground. Recent recipients of The Atlanta Music Awards 1995 prize for Best Alternative Rock Act, yet not content to labor underneath the tires alternative banner, Moonwater shucks convention and sets out to carve their own sweet spot in rock n roll s rigid underbelly. Their intoxicating blend of wailing, trippy vocals, relentless guitars, and rock solid rhythms combine to form a shiny key crafted to unlock the primitive mind. Moonwater s debut full-length release, Invitation, is a brilliant exercise in complementary contradictions. From the hyped up heartbeat cadence of Intangible, to Unsexual s winking nod to godfather Iggy, to the delicate featherlike crafting of Keeping My Own Skin, The eleven songs contained therein offer up a pristine balance between the sacred and profane, a keyhole view of innocence and innocence wildly corrupted. Recorded in June of 1995 at Triclops Studios in Atlanta (the womb from which recent Hole, Smashing Pumpkins, and Brother Cane discs were born) with the noted Rodney Mills behind the board, Invitation is the result of a year and a half of grueling work and represents the culmination of one of the most effusively creative periods nay of the band s members has ever experienced. When we rehearse it is almost impossible to concentrate on the songs we ve already finished because the ideas just flow out of everyone s instruments like... well, like Moonwater , says Danny Whitt, the group s fire engine red haired vocalist. Guitarist Joe Gardner adds, Our music is dedicated to life and living it to its fullest, enjoying what we have right here, right now, and not wasting a lot of time bitching and grumbling about the way things ought to be. We want to encourage people to feel comfortable being themselves, says bassist Christian Nesbella, pushing his floppy, purple velvet hat above his eyes, We re not about telling people how they should look or act, except in the sense that whatever they do should be true to themselves. The band s colorful thriftstore fashion sense, the unyielding wah-wah guitar, and Danny s fondness for antique microphones that could easily have been snaked from the desk of Walter Cronkite contribute to a retro-sensibility sharply countered by truly unpredictable musical changes and a tendency to veer away from the traditional verse / chorus song structure. The chance to see the group live should not be passed by.