Release Date: Mar 31, 2015
Record label: Captured Tracks
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Lo-Fi, New Wave/Post-Punk Revival
With music and real estate, sometimes it's all about location. Luis Vasquez wrote the Soft Moon's second album, Zeros, in the midst of a hectic tour, but when it came time to make Deeper, he sequestered himself in Venice, using his isolation as a source of inspiration -- and confrontation. An unflinching examination of despair, this is easily Vasquez's most emotional album.
It's difficult to imagine what disturbing thoughts occur on the mind of Luis Vasquez. "It kills me inside" he interjects during the death disco jaunt of 'Far'; by Deeper's climax ('Being'), Vasquez declares, "I can't see my face, I don't know who I am. " But then as the creative force behind art rock project The Soft Moon Vasquez has carved out a niche as the 21st century overlord of aggressively pent up and often nihilistic post-punk.
The Soft Moon expertly dish out darkwave on their third full-length release. More polished than 2012's Zeros, Deeper is fuller, fatter and puts more emphasis on its futuristic electronic elements than its nostalgic ones. The most noticeable difference on Deeper is the clarity and dominance of vocals.
Because there will always be miserable teenagers and because nihilism and disaffection are just as much a part of the human condition as falling in love, there will always be a place—and a market—for explorations of abject darkness set to music. Since 2010, Luis Vasquez of the Soft Moon has twisted his personal demons into songs, quietly breathing new life into gothy post-punk. On his new album, Deeper, he pushes his foreboding synth-pop even further.
The idea of music as therapy has existed since the time of Aristotle, but few have internalized this as much as Luis Vasquez — the post-punk progenitor of The Soft Moon. Taking notes from Lennon and Reznor, Vasquez has dissected his own psychological torment over three albums with mostly the same results. Anything concerning the resolve of one’s own psyche is bound to come up short without outside help.
Western society is busier than it has ever been before. It is also more overwhelmed with options, from which television show you stream to which flavor of Oreos you buy. It’s easy to ascertain why condensed, encapsulated experiences would in many cases be appreciated. Why take the time to weed through the wine list when you can simply order a flight? This desire for expedition and efficiency has to be the primary explanation for the appeal of, not to mention acclaim for, the Soft Moon’s music.
Luis Vasquez’s debut album as The Soft Moon back in 2010 was a creeped-out fusion of krautrock and shoegaze atmospherics merged with the electronic sounds of coldwave and mid ‘80’s EBM, drenched in misery. After a misstep with 2012’s Zeros - more of the same, just not as good, possibly a victim of recording on the road - he decamped to Berlin where he now resides. It’s a move that has re-energised his musical approach.
Luis Vasquez turns his Bay Area-based Soft Moon project from rickety, guitar-driven post-punk to an even bleaker realm of zombified synth and grim percussion. In line with the "-wave" suffixes that circulated the Euro underground circa 1979, Deeper – his third LP – plunges into his most self-assured head space yet. Vasquez never beat around the bush, but it's particularly audacious to pen an album full of abject darkness and still be willing to hit the nail on the head with song titles including "Black," "Wasting," "Wrong," and "Try." Deeper is a dreary journey, but it's not exactly anti-social either.
The Soft Moon seemed an incredibly exciting proposition when their self-titled debut album emerged in 2010. Fusing heavy, droning neo-psych and synth-driven krautrock with gothic post-punk, they created a hybrid that felt like more than just the sum of its parts. The glut of bands mining similar influences since, as well as a somewhat disappointing, treading-water follow-up - 2012's Zeroes - has rather diluted expectations for this, their third full-length outing.