The first thing I noticed about this album is straight away it has a far more darker feel to it than his usual efforts. The opener is actually quite sinister and wouldn’t be out of place in a post-apocalyptic film soundtrack. It’s a superb first track, with hints of Depeche Mode and Gary Numan to it and sets the tone perfectly.
This record reminds me of the 90’s strongly. Bands like Massive Attack and Bjork spring to mind when listening to Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt. It’s never overproduced like so many modern works and retains a minimalist vibe which works so well throughout. It’s hard at times to tell what is original work and what is samples (we all know Moby loves a sample). Which just gives more credit to him and the record as a cohesive work that flows superbly from one song to another. It explores a variety of emotions, sonic textures and atmospheres, but still keeps the same feel throughout, an art that is often lacking in today’s musical climate.
The only brief downside is I feel that Moby doesn’t really explore his vocal capabilities on this album as much as usual. Which on one hand I totally understand, as the chanted, whispered, monotone approach works very well on this album, but I just really like his voice when he belts it out a bit and it could have brought a little more melody to the work.
During 2016, Moby released the critically-acclaimed Porcelain: A Memoir that traces his rise to international stardom. Which may have influenced this record as it does feel like he’s revisiting an older sound, some kind of full circle. It even harks back to his 1992 breakthrough album in places. There is a really unquantifiable feel to this album which makes it a delight from start to finish.