The Soft Moon - Zeros

The Soft Moon - Zeros
Album Reviews

It’s almost schizophrenic as you concentrate on one thing, whilst being unsettled by other auditory hallucinations, which may or may not be there.

Label: Captured Tracks
Released: 5th November 2012
Reviewer: Dean Lucas
‘Zeros’, the Soft Moon’s second album, is a logical and meticulous refinement of the distinctive sound that the band showcased on their critically lauded, self-titled debut album a couple of years ago. It’s like the band has poured their menacing, motorik drone through a purifier on ‘Zeros’. The echoic wisps and nebulous smoke clouds from their first album have been significantly dialled-back, resulting in a more taut, wiry sound that feels both more focussed and more sinister.

‘It Ends’ is a buzzing drill of an opening track that acts as a familiar reintroduction to the band before it casts you into an abyss of clangourous guitars, snapping snares and disorienting synths. The title track features hammering drums and orgasmic vocal shivers that are very reminiscent of Alan Vega’s solo material (he of Suicide) and would probably qualify as a bit of a sexy track albeit 'ugly/sexy'. But not ones to enjoy enjoying themselves, the Soft Moon focus the rest of the tracks on reimagining frontman Luis Vasquez’s darkly primal inner visions. ‘Want’ is particularly mesmerising with its use of an undulating drum line and tortured synths, as it seemingly rushes away from an unknown threat in a futile attempt not to be overpowered by an overwhelming urge of some sort. But what gives ‘Zeros’ such an effective air of menace is the careful use of vague and unintelligible sounds, drowning underneath the buzzing waves of anti-melody. Like our subconscious mind threatening to spill over into the forefront of our conscious mind. It’s almost schizophrenic as you concentrate on one thing, whilst being unsettled by other auditory hallucinations, which may or may not be there. ‘Zeros’ is a very dark, inward-looking affair, that requires the same frame of mind from its listener to engage with it, because only those who would be turned on by the thought of moody, anti-pop like this would be patient enough to observe the compellingly ugly and meticulous detail buried within.

Herein lays the beauty and curse of the album: Whilst ‘Zeros’ is as hypnotic as you’d expect, it is still just a distillation that contains the essences of the band’s recognisable sound, and it is not exactly a huge, creative innovation. It is essentially more of the same. But the said-'same' is a good 'same', then it doesn’t matter that much. If deeply introspective headphone music is your thing; you’re in luck, because it is very good for what it is. It won’t, however, be likely to win any new fans. But that is probably not what Vasquez cares about; with ‘Zeros’ what he seeks to do is take those who wish to forsake the facades of life and art and indulge with them in a shared vision of what actually lies beneath.
Rating: 7/10
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