Review

If Only Real Drones Were This Good//The Soft Moon Review

Imagine for a moment if Joy Division, Krautrock and the Doctor Who theme tune had a kind of unholy love child.

The Soft Moon is that love child.

So….so….so geometric. It’s beautiful. 

With a uniquely retro yet modern sound The Soft Moon is a welcome return to good old fashioned beatery in an age of off-kilter time and increasingly conventional unconventionalism, thanks for that Animal Collective. A half-hour romp through a cyclical swirl of sound powered by pounding, kinetic drums and pulsing bass lines; this is an album that never lets up and never lets go, a super-charged burst of brilliance that is over all too abruptly. Indeed it is all too easy to find a single listen morph into an endless loop, the songs blend into each other and there is a coherence and singularity of tone that sucks you in.

If it seems like I’m lavishing an undue amount of praise then it’s only because I’m so mesmerised by the hypnotic beats at the core of songs like ‘Circles’ and ‘Out of Time’, framed by synths that sound like they’re taken straight from a 50s monster movie and underscored by a haunting atmosphere that sounds more like music from a cold dystopian future than anything else. A dystopian future I completely wish I was in. The atmosphere is perfectly complemented by the breathy, whispered vocals that are almost anecdotal such is the force and intensity of the music that swirls around them, occasionally let loose on songs like ‘When It’s Over’ to loop vague lyrics and offer some brief respite. But otherwise they’re almost closer to a sample, occasionally breaking over the waves of sound with a wail before being drowned out again. The vocals are arguably the weakest aspect of the album, along with the lyrics, but they’re really a triviality, more incidental instrumentation in the vein of My Bloody Valentine and Seefeel than true vocals. The emphasis here is very much on the music and it is pulled off with aplomb.

For fear of becoming too wrapped up in slinging around hyperbole and lush, possibly overzealous, possibly overwrought praise, I’ll conclude my review and halt any self-indulgence. This album is the shit. I can throw around fancy wordplay and pretentious metaphors for sound all I want (and I do want to, it’s so easy when it’s so good) but when it comes down to it that’s really all you need to know. Musically this album is among the best I’ve heard all year; a whirlwind of chaotic drones, gripping hooks and a brooding, moody atmosphere, all condensed into a relatively brief package that only leaves you wanting more. And that is one of my few criticisms, this album is short; I almost wish they’d indulged a bit more, strung it out a bit, because these are beats and hooks I could have bang around my head all day. But I admire their restraint. And I admire their songs even more.

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