If the debut EP from Moonlands, Paradise Blue, is the direction that indie music is heading I want a first class one-way ticket. The EP is well worth its weight in gold and, despite the brevity of the sensation, it lingers in your ears until well after the final moments fade away.
Shades of indie industrialist greats such as Pixies haunt the band’s sound whilst vocalist Lucy Elliott has a voice that combines the power of Kate Bush with the youthful enthusiasm and confidence of Cyndi Lauper (I’ve spent so long trying to think of another artist but since drummer Joel Brooks mentioned the ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun‘ singer I’ve been unable to think of any other vocalists at all). The opening third of the EP, ‘Years‘, is an etherial beauty full of vim and vigour; it sounds like early Vampire Weekend with a wonderfully gritty edge. Elliott’s voice and Joel Frosh’s guitar are constantly fighting for the limelight and both are consistently impressive, ensuring that the final result is a track on which the individuals bounce off each other and create a product greater than the sum of all individual parts – the rhythm section of Joshua Fry (bass) and Joel Brooks (drums) help keep the song from becoming to dry and dreary with a heartbeat that screams of power and life.
Following this is the EP’s title track, ‘Paradise Blue‘, which relies heavily on the influence of bands such as The xx who exploit the silence and space within tracks to make the listener truly cherish what fills their ears. Elliott’s voice undoubtedly steals the show here as she highlight her phenomenal ability and presents an endearing charisma that is unfortunately so rare in bands of this ilk. The soulfulness of the voice is brought to a peak by the building and falling nature of the track, dynamic contrast is always a good measure of having excellent emotional control. We’re treated to some excellently executed guitar riffs, with just the right level of effects applied, before the track is brought to a close after a truly magnificent journey.
Rounding off the EP is ‘Prom Song‘ which tells the tale of far too many heartbreaks and far too much cruelty. The tender edge which taints the opening of the track is one so often over-looked by indie bands as they’re too busy trying to excite audiences. By being able to bring down the tempo like this and draw the listener into the beautifully spun story, Moonlands capture the audience’s curiosity and never let it go. Once the song kicks into full tempo this waltzing gem takes the listener by the hand and draws them in closer, engulfing them in the band’s wonderfully crafted world.
Paradise Blue is a killer debut EP that perfectly showcases the array of talents that make up Moonlands. It’s so much more cultured and complete in comparison to most similar bands and it makes for wonderfully pleasant listening.