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Moon Duo - Occult Architecture Vol. 2 (Album Review)

Monday, 08 May 2017 Written by Graeme Marsh

Photo: Eleonora Collini

As promised, Moon Duo’s ‘Occult Architecture Vol. 2’ arrives hot on the heels of February’s excellent first volume, an album that represented the best collection their eight year existence has so far brought to life.

With volume two in front of us, it’s apparent that whether or not you choose to completely immerse yourself in the weird theories behind each release – or even want to understand them in any small regard – is possibly irrelevant when listening to either of them.

Volume one focused on the dark side, the Yin to the new album’s Yang, which contrastingly concentrates on the lighter elements of the forces around us.

To any less spiritual people out there, this probably just equates to the fact that the band had knocked up a bunch of tracks that neatly divided into those with a metaphorically dark, edgy feel and those that felt warmer, more pleasant, and basked in sunshine.

Here, the six minute opener New Dawn blinks into consciousness, awakening slowly as the first shards of light pierce the darkness. Once introductions are out of the way, a spacey groove kicks in and stays put.

Like Ripley Johnson’s drone rock band Wooden Shjips, here a canvas is carefully laid out amid familiar chord changes at which point his masterful guitar soloing can slide across the top to paint colourful, psychedelic patterns. It’s a track that wouldn’t sound out of place on the Shjips’ last LP ‘Back To Land’.

The slightly longer Sevens follows the same path, accordingly taking on a happier, more lively stance, and these two impressive songs represent the lighter side of the band perfectly. Lost In Light attempts to stay on the same track and, while it doesn’t stray too far off course, there’s something lacking, with the energy and magic having disappeared. In this case, that happens as the band’s tendency to jam begins to drag ever so slightly over its eight and a half minutes.

Despite a funky riff throughout, the monotonous repetition and warped guitar weaving of Mirror’s Edge also fails to ignite or lead anywhere significant. Closing the five-track collection is a 10-minute instrumental, The Crystal World. Ten minutes is an awfully long time to fill if you don’t have something special up your sleeve, and unfortunately the tribal drumming and laser effects do little to spark excitement.

Following up such an excellent album as ‘Occult Architecture Vol. 1’ was never going to be an easy task but with tracks all coming from the same creative well, you would hope for something better than what ‘Vol. 2’ turns in. Here, the power of the dark side wins comfortably.

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