Moon Duo - Shadow of the Sun

by Rob Taylor Rating:9 Release Date:2015-03-02

Repetition in music can be powerful. It allows our thoughts to drift and then return to the wider sound-picture, inhabiting the whole passage of music. A musical phrase which sounds impersonal or random at first, upon repeated listening, may communicate a more meaningful, even ecstatic feeling.

This is what Moon Duo do brilliantly. They dive into a fantastic groove and loop the shit out of the blissful parts, emphasising and re-emphasising those sounds. Call it secular rapture if you like. Wooden Shijps guitarist Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada never bum-out on tiresome two-tone psychedelia, they burn with a subtle ferocity, never forced, but born from the flames of intent.

Nothing much has really changed on Shadow of the Sun, following up the outstanding Circles. There is some variation. Keyboards and vocals have more prominence this time around. Drummer John Jeffrey’s live drumming gives cogency to a sound which was intrinsically organic anyway. There’s also more song-oriented friendliness, without in any way diminishing the fact that the album is yet another celestial opus of the languorously cool kind.  

'Free the Skull' manages to sound in part like Dandy Warhols during the pre-cheesy Come Down era. Groovy keyboards and five-speed guitar work, no waning of momentum. None of those unnecessarily prosaic interludes with long bridge work, just unmitigated and sustained release.

Consider that a track like 'Slow Down Low' has the jive of Bolan’s '20th Century Boy' and the charismatic descending chords on the intro to ELO’s 'Don’t Bring Me Down'. Moon Duo are not afraid of mixing major-chord lush with minor-chord drone, and therein lies their excellence.

The hammering nihilism of Suicide or the impending darkness of The Black Angels may provide some reference points for Moon Duo, but ultimately this is music played by West Coasters. Mind expansion music for the post-rave culture. Those promotional bills fanning kaleidoscopic colour were never more truly deserved.

Supercharge your psyche today.

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