Dark, brooding and sullen … probably not the most uplifting of starts to this week’s album reviews on GIGsoup. Nevertheless, welcome to the wonderfully obscure world of Luis Vasquez (aka The Soft Moon) and album number three ‘Deeper’, out today via Captured Tracks.
The follow-up to 2010’s self-titled debut and 2012’s sophomore release ‘Zeros’, this new material is as synth abundant as its predecessors, while still retaining the infectious early 80’s feel that seems to be a mainstay of Vasquez’s work. For ‘Deeper’ the artist cleverly combines old and new perfectly to create an eclectic piece of work and a quite formidable release.
But this release isn’t just about clever synth arrangements or distorted instrumentation. Beneath the industrial boisterousness there are genuine melodies and quite obvious moments of emotion. ‘Far’ is a prime example; it has structure, and a chorus, and one can only imagine what it may have sounded like before the electronica was laid upon its frenetic vocals. It has an energy and resonance to it that stands out from the other elements of dark-wave on show here.
‘Try’, while lacking the aforementioned tempo, also has an obvious melody but it’s cleverly hardened by its synths and joy division-esq guitars. It teeters between 1980 and 2015, sounding fresh but also offering a little nostalgia for fans old enough to remember the halcyon days of Creation Records.
‘Desertion’ certainly wins the award for best track on the LP. It soars above anything else on ‘Deeper’ and comes at you like a runaway train. A thumping baseline, cleverly integrated drums and breathless vocals intermix to present what is probably the best thing you’ll hear across all three albums.
I hate using any analogy indicating that an album is a ‘real grower’. However, this LP undeniably is. With every listen there’s something there you didn’t notice before. The darkness of the album begins to lift and you start to hear real warmth from within the distortion, transistors and integrated circuitry. ‘Without’, on its first listen sounds almost sinister. Listen to it again and you start to appreciate its lyrics of loss and hurt; it simply oozes its own individual beauty.
There will be those who suggest that this album is a reproduction of early Cure, Depeche Mode or an even earlier Joy Division. Sure, there are elements of all off those groups on this release. However, Vasquez creates music with a twist. Here he has managed to compose something that will not only appeal to fans of those groups but has also added his own unique stamp, ensuring it will resinate with music buyers who have yet to indulge themselves musically in the aforementioned acts.