If there was ever a question about the sexual arousal associated with the sounds of Oakland's own The Soft Moon, the title off its third album DEEPER, is enough of an answer. Balancing dark wave, psychedelic, synthpunk and krautrock, Luis Vasquez’s The Soft Moon has seduced listeners since 2010 with their s/t debut and then 2012's Zeroes.
DEEPER immediately grabs with throbbing, swirling intro "Inward," which hints that the album will be drawing its listener deep into a tormented psyche. You're cautiously walking the empty street of Vasquez's subconscious. Lone street lamps. Detritus. Darkened warehouses. One has a doorway, illuminated fluorescent red, and a thudding beat beckons you inside....
As you descend a scummy stairwell, that's where "Black" (also DEEPER's first single) breaks into the ears with wild abandon, both terrifying and stimulating. A ritual is in progress. Neo-druids, lasers, and leather. This might sound intimidating, but part of The Soft Moon's allure is that they practically beg you to revel in the dim mood of their brash broodings. Even if the next song "Far" seems to convince you otherwise. The wailing vocals signal the sadness akin to early Robert Smith but the rip-roaring guitar makes you want to move like it's prime Billy Idol punk pop.
On "Wasting," a cauldron of black goo splashes over you and the crowd. As you writhe in the viscous liquid, slowly becoming consumed, you are transformed. Something between man and demonic machine, which heralds the beginnings of "Wrong" -- dance-heavy and bubbling over with industrial groans. "I am in control of my existence." Luis explains. But by this point, he and The Soft Moon, and Deeper are in control of you.
As the rest of the album plays out with highlights like "Desertion" and "Feel," there are even some minor oddballs such as "Without," the closest thing I've heard to a Soft Moon ballad. The album-titled track even strays slightly, transporting us from a warehouse basement to a desert bonfire, where the other cyborg converts celebrate their confirmation under the stars. But it's undeniably captivating and arguably The Soft Moon's most cohesive and consistently solid outing yet.
DEEPER drops tomorrow Tuesday, March 31
Written by Alex Rose
Photograph courtesy of gimmeindie.se