Moon Duo, “Occult Architecture Vol. 2”
Occult Architecture Vol. 2
Portland-based psych rockers Moon Duo’s new release is a two-for-one offering, and continues its riffs on contrasting themes: yin and yang, dark and light, female and male. While Vol. 1 (the dark, yin iteration) called to mind the toxic sludge of Soundgarden, a more apt ’90s reference for Vol. 2 would be Primal Scream. With Vol. 1 you banged your head; Vol. 2 is the dance party.
There are five tracks here, none less than six minutes long, with the closer “The Crystal World” clocking in at over ten, and all of them groove along like they know where they’re going. Unlike with Vol. 1, vocals and guitars take a back seat to beats and sweeping synths. When they do emerge, the lush and hypnotic singing meshes perfectly with the surrounding audio.
The album starts appropriately with “New Dawn,” which does mix familiar-sounding distorted guitar lines and vocals, creating a fitting transition from the heavier first volume. “Mirror’s Edge” lands firmly in the Screamadelica vein, a trippy head bopper, as does the aforementioned “Crystal World.” In between, the more traditional “Sevens” and “Lost in Night” recall the best of electro-tinged new wave, even to the point of channeling U2 in parts.
Moon Duo set out to create a specific narrative on the two Occult Architecture releases, and they have succeeded. The merits of listening to either on their own is somewhat questionable, but when combined they make for a full experience.