Monday, 9 August 2010

Moon Duo – ‘Escape’ (Woodsist)

Formed just last year in San Francisco, primarily as a side project by Wooden Shjips’ Ripley Johnson along with Sanae Yamada, the aptly titled Moon Duo have since then released a Single, EP and have now come up with another piece of Psych-Doom gold in the form of an LP simply titled ‘Escape’. With the record consisting of only 4 tracks clocking in at 28 minutes, you may be mistaken for thinking we have another Extended Play here, but with a very effective use of repetition and riffs, it certainly has a feel of a very consistent album.

Each of the four tracks consists of a continuous drumbeat which gives ‘Escape’ a Krautrock edge to your standard piece of Doom Rock. The first composition we come across is called ‘Motorcycle, I Love You’ which starts with the base of a looped drum sound and guitar backing track that continues to get layered with keyboards, heavily distorted guitar riffs and mumbling vocals that is almost completely drowned in a wall of sound and noise. It has very much an improvised feel to it yet it leaves the listener with a unique dilemma to either lie in a darkened room with the music blaring through the headphones or dance around with the speakers cranked up full volume.

The remaining 3 tracks continue with this formula of rhythm and guitar loops, but with each track varying in tempo. ‘In The Trees’ again features dreamy guitar riffs but adds a more Psychedelic and drone feel. The closer you listen the more gorgeous the track sounds, with the build-up of textures combining to create a piece of blissful noise. ‘Stumbling on 22nd St’ has a more melodic essence to the previous two tracks with Yamada’s keyboard sounding more prominent. The vocals also sound clearer and it’s not until Johnson’s singing stops when the added guitars begin to wail out of the track.

The fourth and final number is the title track. Displaying a lighter approach with the backing track, Moon Duo continues to indulge us with layer upon layer of guitars but drenched with a divine use of Tremolo. What you get with ‘Escape’ as a song AND as a full album is a successful blend of riffs, noise and an energy that is driven without a weak note in hearing. Sure, you’ll find influences of the likes of Suicide, 13th Floor Elevators, Silver Apples and Faust but Johnson and Yamada have cleverly chosen the right elements to make this record the sound extremely fitting with the Psych sound of 2010, but one that is most certainly a gem like no other.

Words: Freddy Rothman.

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