The Soft Moon | Zeros

Captured Tracks (2012)
By MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER  |  October 24, 2012
3.5 3.5 Stars


Feeling disassociated, darkened, distressed, or just plain different this fall? Don't fret or suffer like the only hope out there for getting lost musically is by listening to early Depeche Mode or jumping on the Kraftwerk revival bandwagon. There are, in fact, a slew of newish bands with a full palette of grey melancholy and aural dissonance ready to take you in their cold embrace. The Soft Moon joins the ranks of Silk Flowers, Cold Cave, and Ducktails as modern guardians of the bleak. Brainchild of NoCal's Luis Vasquez, the Soft Moon sound fuses anxious synth lines with jittery drum machines; check the sway of the title track on Zeros and its seamless transmutation into Krautrock. It's a minimalist approach that started on the Soft Moon's outstanding 2010 self-titled debut full-length, and continues here with each composition taking on an overall instrumental feel despite the occasional presence of lyrical accompaniment. When they do enter the soundscape, Vasquez's vocals tend to hover above the song or, as with the incredibly Cure-like eeriness of "Insides," echo like a swirling vapor of torturous hopelessness. The effect is emotive without being over the top or resorting to a smeared-eyeliner addiction. Imagine if when Trent Reznor first hit the scene he had been more despondent than angry, headed in the opposite direction of his immediate industrial forebears Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, and Skinny Puppy, instead welcoming the softer yet no less intense side of Peter Murphy. Speaking of which, it's that time of year again, where one is encouraged to get all bereft in deathly bloom anyhow. So watch the leaves fall as the season continues to turn while sitting alone in a darkened room. Just make sure the Soft Moon is playing within earshot.
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