Home > News & Reviews > Moon Duo

Moon Duo - Stars Are The Light (Album Review)

Friday, 04 October 2019 Written by Graeme Marsh

Photo: Brett Johnson

Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada, the husband and wife duo at the heart of Portland electro-psych act Moon Duo, wanted to reflect a multitude of changes on their seventh album ‘Stars Are The Light’.

With motorik drone serving as their trademark sound for a decade, the decision to take inspiration from disco, in particular, marks a considerable change in itself. As a result, the two-part ‘Occult Architecture’ venture from 2017, which explored both light and dark, seems like it occurred aeons ago.

The title track, which doubled as lead single, is typically mesmerising, sparkling like the brightest of stars. Similarly, the six minute Lost Heads is somewhat mind-blowing.

A sprinkling of magic adorns the intro before a hypnotic keyboard riff takes over, leading to the sort of amazing guitar solo that Johnson has admirably weaved into so many Moon Duo and Wooden Shjips tracks over the years.

With Sonic Boom of Spacemen 3 on mixing duty, there’s plenty of encouragement for the repetitive, droning core Moon Duo have tended to favour, but in other places it works less well than on the first two singles. Eternal Shore features Sanae as lead vocalist as well as lyricist, but it feels like the earlier magic is missing. Similarly, the familiar three-chord progression of closer Fever Night drags its heels.

A notable aspect of previous albums has been the way opening tracks instantly grab the listener, with both 2012’s ‘Circles’ (Sleepwalker) and 2015’s ‘Shadow of the Sun’ (Wilding) two outstanding examples. Here, though, Flying opens the album in far simpler fashion as a chilled groove kicks in to create a relaxed, summery vibe with the usual spacey guitar noodling peppering the surface.

Fall (In Your Love) is slow and brooding, with a Duane Eddy-like twang that fails to inspire OMD synths, and The World And The Sun’s monotone vocals and shuffling beat also fall a little short. There’s more life, however, in Eye 2 Eye as Giorgio Moroder-style keys create a more upbeat, buzzing body.

At just eight tracks, most around the four minute mark, the album feels too short and it fails to follow through on the promise offered by the first two singles. Despite disco being an inspiration, ‘Stars Are The Light’ is not an album you could stick on at a party. It has its moments, and Lost Heads is a contender for Moon Duo’s best track, but they’ve done better and they’ll do better again.

Moon Duo Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Mon October 28 2019 - LONDON EartH (Theatre)
Tue October 29 2019 - MANCHESTER Dancehouse Theatre
Wed October 30 2019 - LIVERPOOL Invisible Wind Factory
Thu October 31 2019 - GLASGOW BAad, Glasgow
Fri November 01 2019 - BIRMINGHAM Crossing
Sat November 02 2019 - LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
Mon November 04 2019 - BRIGHTON St Bartholomew's Church

Click here to compare & buy Moon Duo Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

Let Us Know What You Think - Leave A Comment!

Related News

Moon Duo Confirm Winter UK And Ireland Tour
Tue 14 Nov 2017
Photo: Eleonora Collini Moon Duo have announced plans to tour the UK and Ireland in early 2018.
Moon Duo - Occult Architecture Vol. 2 (Album Review)
Mon 08 May 2017
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.
Moon Duo Share New Single Sevens
Tue 28 Mar 2017
Photo: Eleonora Collini Moon Duo have shared a new single, Sevens.
Strictly Come Dancing Stars Gorka Marquez And Karen Hauer Announce Spring UK Firedance Tour
Mon 09 Sep 2019
Gorka Marquez and Karen Hauer will tour the UK in spring 2020.
Organisers Postpone Stepback 90s Vs 00s UK Arena Tour
Fri 04 Oct 2019
Organisers have postponed the Stepback 90s vs 00s Tour.
Jeff Goldblum Announces New LP 'I Shouldn't Be Telling You This' And Reveals Star Duet Partners
Fri 13 Sep 2019
Jeff Goldblum has revealed details of his next album.
Motörhead's Phil Campbell Shares Alice Cooper Collaboration Swing It
Fri 20 Sep 2019
Phil Campbell has teamed up with Alice Cooper for a new track.
Rex Orange County Releases New Track 10/10
Mon 16 Sep 2019
Rex Orange County has shared a new song.
< Prev   Next >