The concept of Lo Moon is a simple one. Ambience, emotionalism, shimmering guitars and synth pop sensibility. Songs where verses circle within the background and big anthemic choruses leap to the fore.
But where to place a group like this LA trio? In terms of polish, Lo Moon could easily sit alongside the experimental R&B of James Blake, the playlist-friendly meditations of Sohn or perhaps even Perfume Genius for those listening further afield. Matt Lowell ‘s vocal inflections arrive with an immediate reminiscence of Japan and Talk Talk circa ‘Eden’. They’ve toured alongside The War on Drugs whose Adam Granduciel and Charlie Hall also make appearances on the record. But if any of these acts are in fact some axis of inspiration, the group is drawing from them rather than aping.
Lo Moon’s debut is drowning in introspection. Each track arrives as its own moment of contemplative grandeur. Lo Moon is halfway toward playing out as a singularly long mood piece. Yet song structures are tight, they stick to a close formula. At times this can stray a little into a numbing sameness. This is going to challenge those who haven’t completely fallen deeply into its atmospherics.
‘This Is It’ starts the record, setting the mould with its delicate soundscape and triumphant chorus lines before receding into its relentlessly gentle coda. ‘Loveless’ streams forth with sparkling guitar lines and lyrical economy. “Could you take a chance on love?” Lowell sings. Drowning in introspection while drifting in and out of focus, it conjures a Chris Isaak-David Lynch feeling, a filmic surrealism. Its dizzying romanticism gives way to expansive sound and broad sentiments of ‘The Right Moon’.
The pleading devotion of ‘TTYMO’ works ’80s drum figures and melody into a spacious period peace. Plaintive vocals swirl against gently evolving electronic backing. It lulls into near nothingness before surging into melodic uplift. ‘All In’ ebbs into bright conclusion. Lo Moon’s love or at least the fantasy of it, as Matt describes it here as a dream, is a redemptive one.
Nudging between both the fore and the back of the mind, Lo Moon is a record that can pull you in. It’s narcotic, ambrosially washing in and out of your periphery. Yet for those only scratching the surface, this long-player’s understated intricacies, especially towards the tail end, might taper off into the tedium of tighter and more overtly accessible elements. Despite its surface simplicity, it isn’t a body of work ready to reveal itself all at once. Repeat listening advised.
Lo Moon’s debut self-titled album ‘Lo Moon’ is out today. Listen/buy it here.