Release Date: Sep 27, 2019
Record label: Sacred Bones
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Alternative Dance, Neo-Psychedelia, Ambient Pop, Neo-Disco
Moon Duo eclipsed Wooden Shijps with their previous two albums, the diptych Occult Architecture Volume 1 and 2. Since the release of those albums back in 2017, Wooden Shijips released the passable V last year, while Yamada released a self-titled album under the guise Vive La Void, an excellent exploration of synthpop and krautrock. It's the former record which gives Stars Are The Light its strongest reference points.
For their seventh album, Moon Duo are embracing the concept of the dance. Through their previous six long players there has always been an element of a groove, albeit one that often opens out into longer, psychedelic interludes. Both the Occult Architecture albums show how comfortable Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada are in these environments, but in Stars Are The light the band are consciously redefining their parameters, stepping in a choreographed manner out of their comfort zone to try something new.
If you were to judge the music on Moon Duo's seventh LP by its album cover, you would presume it to be hippy-dippy, trippy, space music. But you would only be partially correct. After actually listening to the music, it's evident the duo of Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada have taken their psych rock sound in a different direction that could be described as flower-power, disco-rave, dream-pop.
The sounds that emanate from the speakers when first dipping into Moon Duo's seventh studio album, Stars Are the Light, are different enough from previous works that it wouldn't be all that wrong to wonder if maybe there was a mix-up at the pressing plant. "Flying" is languid and hazy, with Ripley Johnson's guitar dialed deep back in the mix, sequenced synths up front, a shuffling slow-motion funk beat slowly pushing the song forward while Johnson and keyboardist Sanae Yamada's vocals are relaxed to the point of somnambulance, even more than usual. It doesn't sound much like classic Moon Duo and only sharp-eared listeners who remember the track "Mirror's Edge" from 2017's Occult Architecture, Vol.
Moon Duo lets in the light on this airy seventh full-length. Where previous albums sat on a blistered, fuzz-crusted foundation of feedback-y drone, this one dances upward like dust motes caught in afternoon sun. Keyboard sounds flutter playfully around whooshing auras of melodic tone. Warmth and clarity surrounds guitar tones, while programmed drums keep time and vocals susserate in the background.
Historically, Moon Duo have channeled a form of guitar-driven psych rock. 'Stars Are The Light' shatters the proverbial glass ceiling, embracing disco as its predominant inspiration. Their musical evolution is obvious from the outset. 'Flying' is pulsating with repetitive beats and ethereal vocals ….