- by Sean Hewson Rating:6 Release Date:2016-10-14 Label: PIAS
If you are a fan of Shoegaze/Dream-Pop and don't really need a record to do much more than that (and there's absolutely nothing wrong with knowing what you like) you'll enjoy Space by Newmoon. These guys love that stuff and they have lovingly and respectfully created a sound based on those great albums from the late 80s and early 90s. They're brilliant at guitar arrangements and sounds and I would put good money on them being exceptional live.
I think we can all sense a 'but' coming and the problem for me is that I want a little bit more. The nine songs on Space all follow a very similar pattern - a fantastic build up of guitars, then everything drops down for the verse which generally has a fairly unexceptional melody, then there's a big chord and everything come back in. My problem is that every time that fantastic build up starts, I'm with them, I'm willing them to use it to set up an exceptional song but it almost always steps back at that point (Coma is the exception, the tune is just about beguiling enough to carry you through). This is a problem that I have with a lot of the Shoegaze/Dream-Pop genre - they're very big on guitar sounds and arrangements but the vocal often seems like an afterthought, something to sing over the guitars. The most successful (artistically as well as commercially) Shoegaze bands - from My Bloody Valentine, through Slowdive, Ride and Lush, to Nothing - were/are good song-writers, not just guitarists. A lot of them are also massive fans of pop music and in pop music you never undersell the vocal tune. My Bloody Valentine aren't burying the vocals because they're ashamed of them. They're burying them for us to find.
I just want Newmoon to try to find the chord changes and vocal melodies that surprise the listener, to break out of that comfort zone because their actual playing and their knowledge of how to arrange guitars is exceptional, but it shouldn't be the sole reason for making a record.