dilluns, 23 de juny de 2014

MOONBELL. Afterlives


San Francisco quartet Moonbell make faraway and trippy shoegaze with a very distinctive sound, one that makes the act's long-player Afterlives among the most singular dream-pop albums of 2014 to date. Its 11 songs carry copious reverb on nearly every instrument, and the unexpected wandering bass lines and schizophrenic patterns of this record add to its otherworldly nature. Opener "Never Seems" establishes a mood with loping snare work, and the drifting vocals and strings simultaneously disorient and engage. In an especially cool touch at 1:22, the tune transforms from electric to acoustic -- a solid example of the unexpected elements that Moonbell regularly employ. The title track, an album highlight, goes for a more monolithic approach, with punchy, slightly dissonant bass work reminding this reviewer of the colossal "Periscope" from Lilys' masterpiece In The Presence Of Nothing(which, as we wrote last month, may finally be getting the reissue it so dearly deserves). The vocals, while airy, bear the charmingly innocent and slightly out-of-tune feel of shoegaze greats like The Telescopes and early The Brian Jonestown Massacre -- a welcome revival of the style. Afterlives was released April 1 on the band's own Hypnogram imprint in a limited edition of 100 cassettes and as a digital download; purchase it right here. The entire set may be streamed via the embed below, and a new EP comprised of music recorded during the same sessions as Afterlives is slated for release this summer, according to this interview. Moonbell, which formed in 2010, previously released a digital single "The Golden Hour" and two EPs, Figurine and Parallel, all of which are available as free downloads via Moonbell's Bandcamp yert right here. The two EPs were packaged together for a CD release in 2012. But particularly based on the strength of its newest material, Moonbell's unusual blend of styles and sounds makes it a band to watch. Watch we will. -- Edward Charlton