Review Summary: A lot can happen in a couple of years.
It's fair to say that four-piece Chattanooga noise-pop band Moonlight Bride are going places. Their debut EP Myths
, released in 2009, displayed an emotional maturity and inventive spirit that belied the band’s years. Combining large atmospheric soundscapes and instantly identifiable vocals, Myths
helped the four-piece build a small but loyal fan-base that should no doubt expand rapidly over the coming year, with multiple follow-up releases set to be released over 2012.
Despite its numerous positives, Myths
lacked a discernible identity and was hindered by the bipolarity in moods between songs, often causing the band to play within themselves and restricting the interplay between instruments. By comparison, Twin Lakes
is a much more cohesive release, with a notable emphasis put on individual track structures and seamless transitions. Justin Giles’ soothing dream-pop vocals are much improved and mix favourably with the relaxed, upbeat instrumentation and distinct shoegaze influences that infuse the record, saturating the majority of tracks with a haunting ambiance that remains constant from one track to the next. Opener Diego
immediately jumps into a fuzzy mess of distorted guitar riffs and energetic drum patterns. Indie pop influences bleed through in the track’s sickly sweet chorus before being overwhelmed once more by the intense instrumentation.
More reverberated guitar riffs and marching bass tracks set the scene for Lemonade
, a summery number with plenty of bite to it. Its tranquil, laid-back nature makes for an interesting contrast with its more animated predecessor, and highlights the refreshing variety Moonlight Bride have managed to produce. This contrast is aided by the fantastic track pacing and sharp production that allows the smooth vocal passages to interact with the muddier instrumental bridges with ease. Versinthe
shatters the mood with overbearing distortion before Drug Crimes
brings it all right back again, even louder and more focussed than it was before. Throughout this dynamic the balance within each track never seems to be off, the interplay between the guitar, rhythm and vocal sections all fluctuating in emphasis and supporting each other. This culminates in And the Death Ship Had a New Captain
, an ambitiously climactic closer incorporating slightly more varied and abstract instrumentation and a triumphantly harmonic chorus to build an unforeseen tension into the otherwise carefree mood.
While Twin Lakes
is hardly going to revolutionise the noise-pop genre, it adds a streak of daring and creativity into a scene that can often feel rehashed and exhausted. The polished, mature sound indicates a varied palate and an enviable chemistry between the four members, and furthermore displays the drastic improvement a time span of two years can make. Ultimately then, Twin Lakes
successfully charts a significant progression made from their raw early material and sets up what could be a very promising year indeed.
Overall 3.5 Great