Luis Vasquez is angry. His latest album as The Soft Moon is Criminal, named for those that have hurt him, including himself. The songs are an aptly furious mixture of krautrock grooves, indie rock melodies, all lathered in so much distortion that this record could only come from Sacred Bones. Available on CD, vinyl, and limited edition white vinyl.
8/10 Robin Staff review, 07 February 2018
A good alternative soundtrack to Goldeneye 64, ‘Criminal’ is a tour de force in synthetic fury. With his usual mix of psychedelic clock-punching, electronic sheen and striking industrial aesthetic, Luis Vasquez takes his latest Soft Moon record as an opportunity to simply unleash. It’s a furious, futurist record that makes anger sound like some tool of an advancing technological age. It’s all oscillations and laser beams, and a desperation that’s been converted to fuel.
“Burn” is like something straight out of an early NiN record, channelling Trent Reznor’s breathy fear-mongering as riffs play on automatic pilot. It’s followed by the distorted synth bleat of “Choke”, whose backdrop of nausea-dripped sound effects brings on a contact-induced illness. The push and pull bass line thump of “Like a Father” is augmented with heavy-duty beats and a low growl, Vasquez passing off the most chilling and terrifying of scenes with a noir shrug. It’s his lilting, sighs that mark his best vocal work, though: like Deftones’ Chino Moreno, he sounds a little bit caught between his shoulder angels.
With its striking metallic force and its churning horror hooks, ‘Criminal’ is easily the most immediate record in the Soft Moon catalogue -- its theatrics, like Pharamkon’s, are buzzsaw, with the abstract noise doings of “ILL” offering a kind of power electronics that identifies the artist right in the middle. Even at its most abstract and abrasive, this is a record that Vasquez bursts out of.
And “Young” is a goth jam, if you want it. He's still goth enough for Sacred Bones, thank god.
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