Who: Portland, Oregon’s Moon Duo return for their fourth album which was released in two separate volumes.
Sound: Moon Duo have a heavy psychedelic krautrock sound that is layered with clever flourishes of synth and rhythmic drumming.
TFN Final Take: Occult Architecture, Vol. 1 is my favorite Moon Duo release to date. Erik ‘Ripley’ Johnson (guitars, vocals) and Sanae Yamada (keyboards, vocals) have opened their heavy psychedelic sound up with some catchy, and (dare I say) danceable tracks. That does not mean that they compromised their heavy, repetitive and spooky sound, they are just expanding on some of the welcome sounds that I loved off Shadow of the Sun. Tracks like “Cold Fear”, “Cross-Town Fade” and “Will of the Devil” have a nice groove going for them.
When they aren’t hitting you with some danceable psych, bits of Occult Architecture, Vol. 1 sound like Moon Duo composed tracks for a 70’s or 80’s low budget science fiction film. “The Death Set” and the epic 10-minute closer, “White Rose’, could be end credit tracks for a pulp film that paid more money for a soundtrack and VHS cover box art than they did for special effects or a script. These bits of sci-fi cheesiness play nicely against heavy rhythms that permeate Moon Duo songs.
Vol 2, while not nearly as catchy or fun as Vol 1 is not without its merits. Vol 2 is a lot more mellow and trippy than Vol 1. “White Rose” is a quietly cool track that sounds like Fat Boy Slim discovered LSD. “Sevens” is textbook-Moon Duo steeped in a psychedelic groove. However, the rest of the album is too reliant on the listener to be stoned and satisfied with overt repetition over some rather lengthy tracks.
Overall, I highly recommend Vol 1. It features some welcome variety to go along with the staples of a Moon Duo album. Vol 2 is recommend, but to a lesser extent. I just want to put “Cross-Town Fade” on with headphones, go for a walk and lose myself in that song again.
Moon Duo Website
Moon Duo Facebook
Sacred Bones Records
– Reviewed by Daniel Taylor
Photographer/journalist for the U.S. Navy for 26 years. Music fan since forever. Music really hit him in the early 90’s when he heard the Pixies’ Doolittle LP. After that came Pavement and then Guided by Voices. His love for those bands formed his taste in music and he continues to search for that musical “high” today. Married for 18 years and currently lives in Japan.
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