The Soft Moon ‘Criminal’ (Sacred Bones) out Feb 2, 2018
Dark industrial soundscapes permeate the music of The Soft Moon a.k.a. Luis Vasquez, whose angst-filled vocals and lyrics focus on a recurring theme of guilt and shame. The initial single “Burn” opens the album with industrial drums, guitar noise, and vocal delivery reminiscent of The Faint. “Choke” is a more measured track, with drum machine precision and repetitively mechanical synth noises.
‘Criminal’ is not without some light: “Give Something” shines through the darkness with its semi-romantic lyrics and echoing synths climbing over falsetto chorus and screeching sounds. Nine Inch Nails is a possible influence on “Like a Father,” with its mix of industrial beats under churning guitars and synths, but particularly on the vocal delivery. “The Pain” is a new wave-tinged track with its razor sharp synths over danceable beats.
“It Kills” continues with vocal delivery that is best described as whispered under the building layers of industrial noise and heavy synth screech throughout. Changing things up slightly, “ILL” is an instrumental with an initially measured approach to industrial precision, which layers beats that change the tempo in such a way that the sounds become almost chaotic at times.
“Young” is a slowly layering beat filled track that layers heavy drumbeats over scratchy synths and building keyboards. “Born Into This” speeds things up again with a more drum heavy approach to a more dance industrial sound, a real standout track on an album of darkness and frustration. Slowing things down with the title track “Criminal”, The Soft Moon closes the album on more downtrodden note.
The Soft Moon has managed to create some new and interesting noises in their bleakly dark world, without relying too heavily on one sound. The synths are clearly the most distinctive sounds on the album, which brings the listener on a journey through their criminal world – full of angst and guilt. If anything, The Soft Moon shows us that music can be the best therapy.