I think it is pretty safe to say that the emergence of female fronted synth bands had something to do with the label Italians Do It Better. The Chromatics and Glass Candy’s emergence into the musical undercurrent of people who were on the cusp of quality music led to a slew of like-minded bands. The genre was further solidified into our musical consciousness when College released “A Real Hero” for the movie “Drive.”
This all leads me to a band I recently discovered called Moon & Pollution. The band, which is made up of Molly Dean (vocals/electric guitar/FX), Graham O’Brien (drums, production) and Matt Leavitt (electric guitar/Rhodes/FX) is clearly within the upper echelon of this genre. As I listened to their recent release entitled The Box Borealis I not only heard tinges of bands like Glass Candy and The Chromatics but also heard clear traces of the indie’s most beloved kings/queens of darkness; Portishead. Dean doesn't only sound like Beth Gibbons on occasion but the music itself is wrapped in an ominous mist that is the factor is distancing them from a lot of their contemporaries.
The production is slick throughout the album. They implement a good amount of techniques that elevate the pop melodies beyond just being catchy. It’s certified headphone ear candy where you can delve into the nuances of the music or more passively enjoy the prominent melodies, which permeate on the surface of the music.
The band does a stellar job creating an overarching blend of colors and tones while still being able to treat every song differently. It is surely a thing of beauty when a band is able to achieve this. It makes listening to an album from beginning to end a smooth, enjoyable experience that feels like it has a trajectory
I was immediately impressed by the first song on the album entitled “The Box Borealis.” The song begins with soft pads of noise that feel like they are breaking when they merge with brighter synths of white noise and the ethereal vocal harmonies from Dean. Julianna Barwick came to mind when I heard this concoction of sound. Once the huge sounding style drums came into the mix with a sparkling, warm synth I knew I was in for a treat.
Dean’s vocals are more prominent on “Moving Scene,” which you could easily make a case for being the single on the album. Her vocals are catchy and the inventive circus of sounds and the dynamic range of the song are the icing on the cake. As the album progresses the Portishead trip-hop style drums play a key role against dark synths and reverb laced vocals. Out of the ten tracks there weren’t any that felt out of place or even weak.
Moon & Pollution are the real deal. They bring to together all of my favorite elements from notable indie gods while finding their own sounds. Highly Recommended.
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