You know that one experimental, mostly instrumental track that bands from the lower depths of the Factory Records catalog would put on the B-side of their albums? The Soft Moon is like if all those songs were by one band.
Luis Vasquez sticks closely to a well-established template, but immediately establishes a signature sound with propulsive, tribal-industrial drums, driving bass lines, swarm- of-killer-bee guitar swirls, horror score synth wails, and a lot of warping, wobbly noises. The album is dense—not exactly impenetrable, but thoroughly translucent: it doesn’t just reveal itself slowly, but even diverts attention away from itself and won’t allow you to listen holistically; some songs I had to hear three times before I even realized they had vocals.
And when it’s all over you understand it even less, like reading a story that you think you follow until you finish and have no idea what exactly happened. The ephemerality never obscures the mood, however, and the general vibe is of being chased through the desert. But perhaps it’s because the songs sound so much like they belong in a film that they have difficulty connecting more deeply. “When It’s Over” is the one song that slows the pace and aims for romanticism, which fits the sound well and could point to a future direction, but more often the aim is manic urgency, which, without letting us know why we should feel that way, is really just fear mongering.
It’s a beautiful doom, but the executioner never reveals his identity.