It might be stretching it a little to call Oakland-based outfit The Soft Moon a band. Indeed, the ‘band’ is made up of lone ranger Luis Vasquez, and has been since its inception in 2009.
What The Soft Moon lack in numbers however, they make up for in ingenuity of electronic textures and an ability to both challenge and excite the listener. Many have already suggested that these skill-sets have fully begun to take shape on the group’s latest record, Deeper.
The Soft Moon’s modus operandi is founded in industrial sounds, ambitious tone colours and unorthodox song structure, and Deeper is their most explorative record yet.
Released last year, Deeper has perhaps struggled to receive the airtime that it deserves in Australia. Though this may not be the stuff of radio success, this is what gives The Soft Moon their charm, as they’re able to masterfully combine a nostalgia for classic 80s synth sounds with more industrial textures to create something quite unique.
The record opens with Inward, a brief interlude before launching into lead single, Black. From the get-go, The Soft Moon offer up their unique style and stick to it. As the record goes on, the energy picks up, and we’re drawn in further to the this intriguing style of off-kilter electro.
The music is dystopian; electronically aspirant but chillingly dark. Wasting continues the trend here, as ominous drones collide with treble synth sounds and crisp drum work.
The band are at the peak of their powers when this darkness collides with retro sounds. Amazingly The Soft Moon never become crass or cheesy in their use of old-style synthesisers. On Wrong, for example, the band’s quest for electronic exploration still leads the way, but is complemented nicely by New Order styled synthesisers which add a layer of charm.
The music is not necessarily accessible, nor do The Soft Moon seem to want it to be, but it is enthralling nonetheless, as we’re pulled in by the unorthodox tonal landscape.
If you want to witness this landscape in the flesh, The Soft Moon are embarking on their maiden Australian tour in the coming weeks. Picking up touring musicians Luigi Pianezzola and Matteo Vallicelli along the way, The Soft Moon will be playing Mojo’s Bar in North Fremantle, Western Australia on October 26th and Newtown Social Club, NSW on October 27th.
These select tour dates promise to communicate just as much brooding energy as the group’s latest release, and hopefully marks the first of many visits to our shores.