Debut records are a lot like arranging the coup, throwing over the existing government and making it just in time for the prime hour at the national television station. Just what’s your first message going to be? Tying up the old generals and getting the president to sign his resignation were the easy parts. But what do you have to tell the world, and how will they react?
In reality, it’s best not to overthink these matters. Just be your natural self, and do not let the weight of expectation grind you down. Blue Moondust are taking this approach for their debut EP, and it is because of their nonchalance that we are able to get a glimpse of just who they are at the moment and who they’re looking to become.
Opening song, “Satellites”, functions like the first moment of a theatrical production. It establishes the right kind of tension, tells you about where the scene takes place, and gives you a glimpse into the technique and imagination of the performers. It’s a strong ambiental piece that recalls 1970s cartoon soundtracks and 1990s trip-hop.
Things stay just as surreal for “Live From a Mushroom Cloud,” a tune that goes from the sounds of a scrambled television transmission to a quirky folk song about the undeniable joys of the weekend.
In fact, if there is a central idea for this album, it must be one that finds room for both grand pessimism and delusional joy. “Doomsday Waltz” is bound to give you a chuckle and make you want to reconsider taking that loan to pay for your bunker. “Memories and Atoms Collide” does very well in mashing up electronica beats with dramatic, found dialogue before finding rest in the soothing tunefulness of an acoustic guitar and harmonica. And “D’Bomb” feels the soundtrack to falling asleep while watching terrible evening news for 20 years straight, an avant-rock Rip van Winkle tale.
Still, you can’t reasonably dream of taking over anything without, at least, the draft of a manifesto. “Blue Moondust” sounds like the hills whispering a Roy Orbison song after having been left uninhabited and desolate. It’s a strangely peaceful idea.
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