The Soft Moon: Zeros [Album Review]

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The Soft Moon
Captured Tracks Records [2012]

Fire Note Says: The Soft Moon has something in a box it’d like to show you.

Album Review: Zeros is full of hermetic, chain-chamber music that’s simultaneously a funhouse mirror image of scary music and the thing itself. “Machines” swirls and pelts. “Zeros” and “Lost Years” burst with disco shimmies and goth gasps. “Crush” drowns us. “Want” sounds like the soundtrack to a werewolf hunt. But to what end?

Nine Inch Nails has hit the mark in the areas of both dark loudness and lurking darkness —the latter is best evidenced on Ghosts [2008] and Trent Reznor’s film scores—but on Zeros, The Soft Moon does a solid job of inhabiting the middle ground between these extremes. One of NIN’s biggest hits came when it did the same thing (on “Closer”) and Suicide has been widely hailed as early pioneers of the same. The Soft Moon builds upon these precursors while also cribbing more than a few cues from Bauhaus and their ilk. The result? A mood album that would’ve fit well under the 2011 film Drive. Picture David Bowie in a Berlin film house in 1977, watching a time-machine-obtained copy of Drive: now you have the feel of this album. Watch Bowie twitch stylishly, his eyes lit by cold light. Watch Gosling pose and bleed.

The menace is palpable on this album, sure, but is the musicianship? For the most part, yes. It’s all variations on a theme, crime scenes observed from various angles: in some songs you’re the serial killer and in others you’re the victim. It’s not an album for everyday. Willful immersion suits it best and I imagine most of the songs would wither in the light of a sunshiny day. But when you’re off to meet the mad monk in the underground rail station? Well it’s then that this album shines.

Key tracks: “Machines”, “Zeros”, “Crush”

Artisis With Similar Fire: Suicide / Bauhaus / Pigface

The Soft Moon Website
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Captured Tracks Records

-Reviewed by Alan Black (


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