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10 May 2015

WTSH Album Review: The Soft Moon | Deeper.

WTSH Album Review:
The Soft Moon | Deeper
Reviewed by Ellie Sleeper

Luis Vasquez has arrived musically. Whatever listeners may have regarded The Soft Moon as previously, they would do well to forget. This is not because Vasquez has drastically changed the band, but simply because his newest offering, aptly titled Deeper, simply drips with such confidence that it becomes hard for prior releases to compare. To be able to live within one’s own shadow, to be able to assert oneself so flawlessly musically, is a feat few musicians can achieve, and again the record is flawless. 

From start to finish, Deeper takes risks that pay off exponentially. The most noticeable risk is that vocals are front and center on every song, and heavy lyrics permeate now, as opposed to the obscured notes and ideas of the past. Everything is clearer and punches are not pulled.  

Song styles and structures are more scattered and less singular than on previous albums, as well. The characteristic industrial pummeling of “Black” is followed by the racing post-punk of “Far”. “Wasting” drifts in a certain gauzy splendor that would fit neatly along Xymox’s best or Disintegration-era songs by The Cure, and “Without” is a very uncharacteristic piano-driven number. All of these pieces fit together very neatly in a package that is at once both expansive and cohesive. 

The successes, victories, and artistic bravery do not, however, mean that the sense of paranoia and existential crisis have left the music. Vasquez lyrically wrestles with his demons throughout the songs, with the most common theme being a lack of control of one’s fate and circumstances. It’s heavy material at every turn, but instantly engaging too. Others may render such somber material in dour or clich├ęd ways, but it is only ever believable and striking on Deeper. If the lyrics are to be believed at face value, Vasquez is in agony, but it is an intimately relatable, gripping agony. 

No more perfect example of said agony exists than the closing three minutes of “Being”, the album’s penultimate track. A maelstrom of distorted screams, echoes, and synthesized noise, the song’s apocalyptic climax is painful and annihilating, but so cathartic all the same. Therein lies the appeal of the new face of The Soft Moon; Vasquez has delivered his devotees unparalleled catharsis, and it is an awe-inspiring experience.

Standouts – “Far”, “Wrong”, and “Being”

Buy It Because – How often does an artist seem to know himself or herself so fully? Buy it because it is utter oblivion in a way that will only prove more irresistible with each listen.  

Goes Great With:
Odonis Odonis

Extra Author’s Note
Having witnessed them live on this tour, I cannot recommend them enough.  Just as they’ve improved on the record, the live show has made exponential leaps too. They are truly something to behold.
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