Sun 27 Mar 2011
Cut in Berlin, Moon Duo’s second full-length LP orientates towards a poppier, groovier sound, with more of a ’60s indie rock slant. Lead single ‘Mazes’ was released in February and it got a lot of internet attention, ahead of the official album release on March 28 via New York’s Sacred Bones Records. Mazes somewhat opposes the the band’s previous record which had more of a driving impulsive torsion, with just four tracks running close on thirty minutes. Here they’ve gone Velvet Underground chic, turning out a heavily dazed psychedelic pop record with a lot more curious time changes and catchy melodies. While opener ‘Seer’ kicks off where Escape left off, ‘Mazes’ quickly lays out the band’s intentions with a gnawing keyboard riff giving Erik ‘Ripley’ Johnson the playground he needs to send his guitar on a meandering ecliptic journey. The song replicates much of the Velvets’ Loaded, delivering a jangly pop chorus without following any direct pattern or chord progression. Apparent again, and the reason Moon Duo work so well as a two piece, is Johnson and Sanae Yamada’s logistical understanding of each other. They’re able to follow each other through wild elements of intense psychedelic insomnia; at times they sound half asleep but their ability to awaken and redirect themselves is borderline spiritual insanity. Sacred Bones has again picked up on a stunning guitar record, for while Yamada’s genius is clearly evident, Johnson is undoubtedly the ring leader. His shaman-like guitar rhythms are unrivalled by anyone on the American psych-rock scene and Mazes just reinforces his total domination.