Following an all too noticeable drought of no-nonsense rock music, it’s hard not to get excited by the debut release of Denver-based band Luna Sol. Blood Moon, an apparent testament to the quartet’s native land, is a joyous return to all that appears absent in the bulk of contemporary rock. From the splashy, percussive opening of Bridges, to the crunching demise of In the Shadows, the listener is treated to a filthy slog through the Rockies, with several unanticipated turns to enjoy along the way. Every track bursts with age-old influence from our blues and rock forefathers, citing riffs as familiar as old trainers, yet still capturing an air of innovation, similar to that which surrounded fellow stoner-rock companions Queens of the Stone Age.
Second track Death Mountain is a heady recipe of jarring vocal harmony and power chords; there is a certain looseness to the coordination between the two singers, which only serves to enhance the unequivocal driving force of the melody. In fact, Luna Sol seems to doll out vocal participation to the majority of its members, and it’s no surprise why – each vocalist brings another rich timbre to the soundscape.
There appears to be a great deal of respect reserved for the power of an effective intro; every individual track boasts a uniquely crafted opening musical statement, the standout being the tangle of scratchy voices heard at the beginning of Leadville. From here, the track launches into a fractured riff, somehow managing to balance garage band rawness with the maturity you might expect from a band several albums into its prime.
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Sitting centrally in the track listing, Pretty Rotten serves as the emblematic summit of Blood Moon. With arguably the catchiest refrain of the album, Pretty Rotten captures the band’s formula, which is decidedly a blend of perfectly formed musical phrases and a rock ‘n’ roll attitude. As the album continues into its second act, the thumping groove never wavers; if Luna Sol retain the same level of energy in their live sets, then this is a band well worth watching. The intervallic guitar solos are delightfully reminiscent of Jack White’s manic style, and serve to break up the dense verses beautifully.
The closing track signs the album off nicely, the slowing of tempo and thinning out of instrumental textures leading to a melancholic yet epic finale. It seals the conclusion that Luna Sol have created a well-balanced and exhilarating offering, and gives hope for a swell of similar bands to come.
‘Blood Moon’ is out on the 11th September 2015. The full track-listing for the album is…
‘In the Shadows’