9 Jul 2016
Moonsicles - Bay of Seething
Reviewed by Nathan Ford
We were rather enamoured with this Austin based trio's debut, 2014's "Creeper" as you may recall, so the arrival of a followup is very welcome indeed. While "Creeper" was a lovely hand-hewn gem, self-released on CD-R, its successor "Bay of Seething" is a step up in terms of scale, with a vinyl release on Feeding Tube Records providing the perfect medium to absorb their splendid cinematic vibes (although this review is based on a digital promo, it certainly sounds made for vinyl).
As with "Creeper" this is an unhurried record which evokes vast empty vistas of varying types, with a distinctive sci-fi atmosphere. If Quentin Tarantino was to ever make a Western located on the Moon, this would be his ideal soundtrack right here - no need for any Morricone appropriation.
"Pacifica" is a huge, monolithic opener which seems to run at about 3 bpm. Aaron Russell's guitars build an intensely heavy riff one layer at a time without resorting to cliches or in any way suggesting a 'stoner' or 'metal' approach. There's a great sense of dynamics, Sheila Scoville's synths making their presence felt at exactly the right moments to heighten the sense of something alien. This slow rolling groove is eventually replaced with the echo-laden drones of "Glitter Matrix", an appropriately hallucinatory experience given its title, before the ominous "Hell Box" ramps up the tension. There's some masterful mood-setting going on in these pieces.
Side two opens with the album's shortest and most lovely track. "The Frozen Pond" positively crackles with a sense of wonder and mystery. The astronauts have just taken their first step onto an uncharted world - this is the soundtrack to that experience. Ray Bradbury couldn't paint a better picture with words. And that in a nutshell is what this quartet excels at - building a three dimensional world and stimulating all of the senses - an admirable talent when you consider that they only have direct access to one of the listener's senses. This is transportative music, requiring little from the listener except a willingness to yield control. Once Moonsicles are behind the wheel you'll be taken to the most amazing places.
Available here from Feeding Tube Records.
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