Los Angeles music collective Mansions On The Moon may not be household names yet, but their Full Moon EP is as good of an introduction as any. Combining elements of electronica, dance, pop and indie, this 5-song EP melds on a mostly consistent basis.
Opening with the disco-toned “Full Moon”, the EP immediately evokes the imagery and sounds of Nicolas Winding Refn’s 2011 film Drive. It’s a song soaked in neon lights and pulp cinema aesthetic, opening up the band’s sound in beautiful fashion. “It’s Not Too Late” is similar in style, figuring into the electro/indie palette bands like Cut Copy and Midnight Juggernauts crafted before them.
It is however, with the song “More Than Nothing (ft. Codi)” that the band really shine. With its female vocals providing a nice ethereal touch, the song brings to life sounds and images Canadian band Stars are known for, and is the EP’s apex. It’s an electronic lullaby that’s both sophisticated and subtle.
The EP hits a rocky patch with “Heart of the Moment” unfortunately, where campy disco gets an 80s hairspray makeover and bears down on the ultra cheesy. It’s a distraction of sorts from the previous three songs, but like with anything, teething issues are nothing new. And while the song certainly is jarring, it is at least a sign that the band can still improve. Thankfully, the EP closes out on a stronger note with “Radio”.
Mansions On The Moon still have some way to go but there is so much to like about the Full Moon EP. There’s depth, talent and a real know how for writing catchy and infectious electro dance pop. A real solid foundation.
Hatchie – Keepsake
Keepsake, the debut album by Brisbane dream pop artist Hatchie is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars
Brisbane indie-pop artist Hatchie (known to her friends and family as Harriette Pilbeam) is in the envious position of being a pop artist unspoiled by the many trappings of what it is to be a modern pop artist. Unlike some of her contemporaries who craft music by committee or with Sheeran-like self-importance, Hatchie is as of now, unsullied by the pressures of the cookie-cutter pop machine. Hatchie’s debut full length is a showcase for a talent who is supremely confident and composed in her abilities, and Keepsake is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars. The album is also a wonderful throwback to pop’s dreamy 60s influences that shuffle in and out of this delirium while working alongside distinctly more current musical touches.
There is the lush dream pop sounds of “Without a Blush”, taking cues from the best of what Stars and Goldfrapp conjure but heaping a tonne of Pilbeam’s charisma on it. Like her vocals, “Without a Blush” has this elegance that has the ability to elevate songs from being beautiful to grand. It is the kind of vocal elegance that really shines through on songs like the skittering, beat-driven “Obsessed” and the alternative, guitar-fuelled (yay!) “When I Get Out”. Indie/electronic closer “Keep” is a wonderful end to proceedings.
However, the great strength of Keepsake is not just its composure in how all the songs have been put together. It is also this genuine, natural-sounding quality that permeates the album- nothing overly written, overly produced or put together by research groups or music analysts. It just sounds like talent. We can argue that much of pop music is constructed to appease the moment- designed to grab as much attention as possible in an A.D.D. world. And sure, that can be said about almost any kind of music, but the resulting aural tone of Keepsake is anything but transient or transparent.
The best way to combat tepid chart-topping music is to write better pop songs. Songs like “Her Own Heart” and the disco-toned “Stay” are examples of pop music that come across as timeless. We are moved by the songs found on Keepsake when we listen to them today. And I suspect that in 10 years time, or in 20, we will most likely feel the same. It is rare to find the sort of ageless beauty you find on Keepsake.