Moon Rā are a five piece from Marseille, and a new band for me. Not knowing what to expect on my first listen through I only began to understand where they are coming from as I went through each of the six tracks on offer here. That’s because every track on this has a different feel to it… dip into it and you are not going to get a feel for the whole thing.
The opener ‘Spy’s Uniform’ is for me the weakest here… it is certainly the most generic. I really liked the early smoothness of the organ and the spacey feel, but really wondered whether I was going to like the album on this basis. I now appreciate it much more in the context of the whole.
That’s because ‘Burn In – Burn Out’ is a very different offering with it’s menacing intro… a track which you think is going to break out of its claustrophobia, and which threatens to on multiple occasions… when it does around four minutes in it is one of those tracks that then just soars.
After that ‘Snowpiercer’ is much harder and more angular. I really like the punchy riff that takes the band off on a more ‘back to basics’ approach. There’s a nice post-punk feel to a lot that’s going on here which left me wondering whether Magazine and the Gang of Four were influences somewhere along the line.
Things change again with ‘Alkaïd’ will it’s motorik, space and broader rock elements. This is nicely brought together with a rhythm section which really drive the track forward. As with all the tracks here the periodic appearance of the organ really adds a lovely dimension to the track.
‘Dead Mustaine’ feels like one of those ‘missing link’ tracks between early 70s prog and late seventies punk… that liminal era perhaps personified by Roxy Music or Be Bop Deluxe. Yet it also has a contemporary feel to it as well… I like this one more and more every time I hear it.
Finally ‘Remontada’ is a track that I can imagine is very good live with it’s quickening pace… you feel as if you are tumbling out of the end of the album as the band quickens to the edge of control and the beginning of chaos… something enhanced by the howling of a dog at the end, which I thought was actually in the room with me for a moment.
Moon Rä are a difficult band to pin down. On this, their first vinyl release, they move through the hallowed crypt of underground rock with an atmospheric set which fairly pings between the classic bands of the early 70s, post-punk earthiness and more than a side order of Kraut for good measure.. all infused with a psych mentality that really drives the message home. It is an album that you need to really get involved with to fully appreciate. Do that and it’ll repay you many times over.
‘Moon Rā’ is released on The Weird Beard. It is sold out with the label but still available through distro/ shops at the time of writing.
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