Originally from Georgia, Niko Moon got his start as a songwriter, crafting hits for the likes of Zac Brown Band, Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts and Morgan Wallen. However, his star is also rising as a solo artist, following the success of his Billboard number one single ‘Good Time’ from the 2021 album of the same name. Now he’s back with the follow-up EP, ‘Coastin”, released just in time for the summer.
The five-track EP kicks off with current single ‘Easy Tonight’, which very much sets the template for the rest of the collection. With plenty of slide guitar and a laid back feel, alongside Moon’s distinctive edgy yet soulful vocals, it’s a smooth, sunny track with a catchy chorus. You can definitely hear that Moon had a hand in some of Zac Brown Band’s biggest hits – this wouldn’t sound out of place alongside something like ‘Toes’ – whilst the sparse bridge puts the emphasis on his voice and delivery. It’s an upbeat, bouncy way to open the set and definitely brings a smile to your face.
Elsewhere, songs like the slowed-down title track, which throws in references to Jimmy Buffett and Kenny Chesney that are reminiscent of Luke Bryan’s ‘One Margarita’, and the heartfelt, dreamy ‘All That We Need’ with its sweet lyrics and soaring chorus, continue this chilled, carefree. There’s plenty of twang to be heard throughout and I like how Moon adds plenty of personal details to his writing as well.
For me the most interesting track on the EP is ‘Back Nine’. By far the most obviously country song of the quintet, it sees Moon’s vocals take on a raw, gravelly quality as well as adding some fiddle over the guitar and drum beats. The golf references – with mentions of green jackets and woods – mixed in with lyrics about getting over a break-up provide a nice change from the usual sports metaphors that feature in country music, and I’d like to see him explore more of this sound on a future project.
The set closes with ‘One Drink Away’, which sees Moon narrating the story of plucking up the courage to chat up a woman on a night out. The song cleverly builds up the story by backtracking through time, and I like the playful feel of it as well as the self-deprecating moments on the bridge. It might flirt with cheesy territory slightly, but manages to stay on the right side of fun throughout and sums up the EP as a whole well.
Overall, whilst ‘Coastin” probably isn’t the most groundbreaking record you’ll hear this year, it’s certainly an enjoyable listen and will provide a solid soundtrack for things like road trips down the coast or chilling on the beach with a beer. Moon shows off his skills as a songwriter throughout and the EP has a great energy about it – I can imagine it would sound great live with a crowd singing along – as well as some interesting clues as to where his sound might go in the future. If you’re looking for something to lift you up and jam out to over the summer, then this could be for you.
Track listing: 1. Easy Tonight 2. Coastin’ 3. All That We Need 4. Back Nine 5. One Drink Away Record label: Sony Music Entertainment Release date: 10th June 2022