Review Summary: Alone In This Dark Romantic Night comes at you like a freight train filled with mushrooms and iron ore. Swirling layers of synth and percussion punch you in the mouth as the psychedelic textures destroy, erase and improve your mind.
One of the more interesting projects to emerge from France is the aptly titled Beautiful Lunar Landscape. The name is apt because it conjures an image of outer-space, tranquility and melancholy, all of which are qualities that can be genuinely used to describe Beautiful Lunar Landscape's music. They formed in 2003 yet released only one E.P since their inception, the stunning 2007 released "Alone in This Dark Romantic Night".
"Alone In This Dark Romantic Night" is a remarkable fusion of space-rock, post-rock, indie and shoegaze with a heavy current of psychedelia pulsating through it's veins. The atmosphere projects a band that is playing their instruments deep in the great unknown yet the emotive vocals and dynamic songwriting abilities of the group keep their core sound firmly grounded on earth.
The opening track "Glorious Chaos" starts off slow and sparse with melodic guitars and a reoccurring synthline taking control. From that point forward tempos pick up in speed and aggression as the eerie keyboards get louder and louder before descending back into calm waters. "Alone In This Romantic Night" starts off on a similar sounding note but instead of abruptly picking up speed the song coasts along comfortably with soothing female vocals taking the lead before flirting with edgy patterns again. The soft/loud dynamics are performed incredibly well throughout this recording which assist in keeping the music engaging and spontaneous.
The next track "Empty Screen" is my favorite on the E.P. Being slower paced and making the dueling male/female vocal format more prominent, this strikes me harder than the other songs. Lyrics are performed in English and the vocals are quite clear so it's easy to follow along as the duo serenade you with their ethereal crooning. The guitar lines are more memorable this time around, including the booming riff at 3:40 and the brilliant crescendo that takes form at 4:00. The fourth and final track "Eternal Beginning" starts off on a somber note with a movie bit and a downtrodden guitar melody making it's rounds. More sampling emerges with the bass guitar making a significant appearance on this particular track. Fully instrumental, "Eternal Beginning is the most pure post-rock influenced track on here, with the psychedelia, percussion and dueling vocals scaled all the way back in favor of a minimalist movie soundtrack flavored closing piece.
For a first release the production is above average. The vocals, guitar and synths are the clear highlights but the drums and bass are performed just as competently. The sound mastering and fluid arrangements shows off BLL's flexibility and prowess as musicians. I like how well everything fits together. Nothing sounds out of place or forced, it's as if the songwriting flowed effortlessly from the pen and the mind to the instruments and the studio. The four tracks displayed here are pretty tasty, it's unfortunate that this EP is the only release from the band because Beautiful Lunar Landscape were clearly on to something with their artistic take on post-rock. For fans of Pink Floyd, Alcest, Explosions In The Sky and then some.