True Moon - True Moon
Swedish darkwave group, True Moon, release their self titled debut record; a refreshing, modern update of darkwave and post-punk, drenched in influences from groups like Joy Division, Killing Joke, and Bauhaus. And if he had not passed away in the early nineties, I would have sworn the record had been produced by Martin Hannett. This is all intentional, the band have clearly meant to create a record in this vein, however it works so well and the record’s modern approach to an older sound make for a rich and interesting debut. Sticking with their Hannett and post-punk-esque influence, the band recorded True Moon to analogue tape which only amplifies how well they take on the sound.
Image Credit: Destroy/Exist
Artwork: Andy Dahlström
Photography: Joel Nevrup
The band echo the bleakness of bands like Joy Division, both lyrically and musically, and their slightly poppy elements somehow seep into the mix to work in the same respect as Ian Curtis’ harrowing vocals did for Joy Division. Yet the album’s instrumentals keep the experimental and chaotic sounds of bands like Bauhaus, with "Just Like Smoke" being a clear example of this. A drum machine keeps beat below dissonant, distortion heavy guitar work, under perfect vocals from frontwoman, Karolina Engdahl. "Just Like Smoke" as with the rest of the record is heavy with effects laid down on the guitar and bass parts, and combined with sampling such as wailing vocals and static noise give extra depth to the track.
One of the singles chosen to precede True Moon’s release, "Honey" is a simple track in terms of instrumentation. A stifled bass is basically all the track has to it paired with the metronome clicking away in time, under Engdahl’s clear vocals. “The smell of the moon makes me wild” adds a certain, gothic vibe in the opening lyrics, to what is a love song, the lyrics - “Hey you honey, I wanna kill time with you” - making up the hook. Melody is added to the track late on in the song, with a heavily suppressed guitar part with effects creating a piano like sound. It’s an interesting choice to have all the instrumentation so heavily pushed down in the mix, creating a surreal feel to the song, and pushes forward the lyrical content with the emphasis on vocals.
Produced by: Joel Nevrup and Karolina Engdahl
Album opener “Voodoo” allows from the records beginning for Engdahl to show off how impressive her vocal abilities are, painting up all of the band's influence. Yet it shapes up to be so much more and is a great example of how the band take the sound of post punk from the late seventies and early eighties and making it their own. “Run Run Run” is also a great example of this; it blends in plenty of post punk sounds yet the track is given a 21st century face-lift with a slight essence of pop added into the mix on the repetitive hook of - “Run run run, we’re predators”. The instrumentation underneath this however isn’t repetitive with a guitar solo weaving underneath the hook until the songs end.
The record itself is rather similar in direction from track to track, yet the band still keep it fresh in places. True Moon have created a rather innovative sound when you look at them alongside the rest of the music in Europe, they’ve taken an old sound and refurbished it for a modern audience, and it’s more than applaudable. The record is very easy listening and is a great way of paying homage to the music they clearly love.