Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Love Moon - Clouded Bliss

Formerly the disgusto-bathtub meth-addled punk sludge band, Male Bondage, the lads packed up their chemistry set, barrels of radioactive waste, drumset and petrified leftover pizza, moved out west and established a new home in Oakland, California.  Now known as Love Moon, more than just the locale has changed.  What was previously a mosh pit of post-stoner slime, with vocals gargled out in belching bursts of air, guitars muted and strummed with hammers for picks, has now grown up and taken on a new, wafting space rock refinement.

Now, that's not to say Love Moon are your parent's sludge band.  They're still fierce and punky and disgusting in all the right places, but man, have the lads grown up.  Spreading out over a whole LP now, perhaps a song like closer "Tortured Mess" best sums up the new drug of the band.  Kicking off with an impossibly mutated bass riff, trudging at a decrepit snail's pace, guitar and drums settle into something that can only be described as . . . beautiful?   Why yes, that's actually just some damn fine, refined stoner doom sludge going on there, with enough texture and nuance to be a slight bit proggy. Spacey.   Believe me, that was nowhere to be found on the Male Bondage EP.  As this new dimension pounds out a stuttering pace, about midway in, the bass drops out and the guitar riff kicks in, immediately followed by the sneer and spit punky vocals and attack that I've known and loved.  In other words, it's still dangerous.  Still spitting in the face of the pure stoners out there, but spitting with class.  Spitting champagne instead of urine.

That's an upgrade, by the way.

The entire album can fall within parts of the description of this song.  At times fuming and snotty, at others, near elegant and progressive.  Let's call it stoner-core for the intelligent.  Sludge for the slightly cleaner.  Space rock for those pissed at the universe.

Throughout the guitars are still attacked with abandon. The opening of "Dopefiend" is about as aggressive as any stoner cut out there, with the punk fury barely contained over the top. But 2/3 of the way in, spaced out passages of near-Floyd esque beauty seep in amongst gentle guitar and percussion.  The fury returns along with a fuzzed out solo that simply shoots to the stratosphere.  "Starstuff" is pure post-hardcore punk spittle ramrodded through a near rockabilly/Americana vibe without ever losing any of it's fuzz or sludge.

You get the picture.  A varied album that showcases the bands many flavors way better than the simple Male Bondage EP ever did.  Now, that doesn't mean Love Moon is for everybody.  You gotta have an old punkster still beating in your heart.  The vocals still attack you like a hangover headache and fast tracks pummel.  But there's way more nuance and texture here than that implies, and if you don't mind a quick pulse to your stoner/space rock, you may have just found your Nirvana.

Definitely worth checking out.


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