The Freshmen Series: Lo Moon sets high mark on debut LP

Categories:  The Arts    Music
Wednesday, February 28th, 2018 at 5:43 PM
The Freshmen Series: Lo Moon sets high mark on debut LP by Livia Homerski

Lo Moon’s self titled debut was released on Feb. 23 by Columbia Records. The band is comprised of songwriter and vocalist Matt Lowell, bassist and keyboardist Crisanta Baker, and guitarist Samuel Stewart. Combining anthemic hooks with moody, layered instrumentation makes Lo Moon an upcoming indie-pop outfit to watch. 

The opening track, “This Is It,” features soft maracas and a bass-heavy kick drum that guides Lowell’s hesitant vocals until the chorus breaks open the song. The simple chorus of “this is it, this is it now” repeats with determination. 

Dark and moody, “The Right Thing” spotlights Lowell’s vocals. Although he doesn’t have super tight control over his delivery, his vibrato transfers into a relaxed sensibility rather than laziness (or lack of skill) when he flips into falsetto during the chorus, crooning, “So hard to do the right thing, I can’t do the right thing now.” 

Throughout the album, the dissipating synths and chimes contrast with the dark, thumping and rolling bass like a moonbeam cutting through a dark night, especially on “Thorns.” Another highlight of this track is the smooth horn that hangs lightly over a soft bell percussion in the bridge, accompanied further by clean, reverberating guitars. The lyrics describe learning to love someone despite their flaws, or their “thorns on the rose.” 

Much of the verse work is based in anticipation, and the dynamic choruses roll the songs forward. As most of the album contains cryptically poetic lyrics about love, both unrequited and returned, the music coordinates fabulously.

“My Money” features simple, sustained piano chords and a twinkle before we have another moment where the chorus expands the song, similarly to “This Is It.” The softly tapped high hats and chord progressions are more tightly woven together than the reverberating gaps during the verses. This, in compliance with the catchy chorus, “Don’t marry me for my money / I’ve got this love for you honey, it’s baby blue,” leads to a song that’s thickened with angst and sensuality. 

The new wave influenced dance grooves are similar to dark pop artist The Neighbourhood, especially their recent release “Scary Love.”

The instrumentation is mostly electronic based and heavily layered, but not overly saturated or overwhelming. Through the soaring atmosphere, the organic acoustic guitar in the bridge of “Camouflage” brings the song back into reality after the soaring atmosphere and the lyrics lament, “Why don’t we call this what we know it is?” 

This album has many unexpected and brief nuances, such as drops in instrumentation to relate to the lyrics, such as in “Wonderful Life.” During the first time he sings “Heavens will fall,” we experience an audible drop in volume for a second. While not completely revolution, not many artists take advantage of this play on lyrics and music, especially not during their first release. 

At first listen, many of the songs seem to be in the “chill indie-pop” camp, but there’s several arrangement nuances buried in the structure of these songs. 

Much of the album expands during the chorus and retracts into more mellow verses, a sophisticated move for a debut release. 

Lo Moon garnered some attention through several singles they previously released, but with an album under their belt, they are likely to continue shining. 

Livia Homerski can be reached at ae.spectator@gmail.com.

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