I won’t lie to you, I was ready to dismiss this album after two tracks, as my finger hovered over the ‘meh’ button. I’m glad I didn’t, though it’s something of a mystery to me as to why they put the two worst tracks right at the beginning of the album – ‘Winter Within‘ kicking off proceedings, a horrible, lengthy trudge around an open air convention that seems like an over zealous celebration of vocoders, of all things. Then you have ‘Winter Will Pass‘, and thankfully it did just that, falling to its knees on the way, begging to be even half as cool as Duran Duran.
But then I never did like winter…and…hang on, the sun’s just come out…mood…slowly…improving…
After this false start, the rest of the album is unexpectedly great. It’s ‘Dark Clouds‘ where the corner is turned, sounding rather like Kevin Tihista floating in space, and what, frankly, could be better than that? ‘Illuminations‘, halfway in, is probably the pick of the bunch, brilliantly pulling off the kind of folksy electronica that Sam Genders pulled off with his Diagrams project away from the comfy confines of the admittedly fantastic Tunng.
The rest of Moonshot‘s debut long player is made up of successful toe dipping in the shores of Basildon and London respectively (yes, I realise that’s impossible on both counts, before Disgruntled of Tunbridge Wells writes in to correct me), as both Depeche Mode and The Beloved are touched upon to great effect. That said, you could feasibly argue a case for Visage and The 1975 playing an equal part in their influence on this album. Probably.
Still, it’s amazing what a bit of sunshine can do to lift the spirits, and having listened to those two opening numbers many times now, I should admit that I was perhaps a little over harsh on them, though if you bought me a vocoder for my birthday, I’d probably smash you over the head with it. I would still put it to you that they are far and away the weakest tracks here, amongst a treasure trove of agreeable folktronica, and played a big part in pushing the rating down from what might have been a candidate for many end of year lists, including mine.
Last Train Home is out now on Figure And Ground Records.