Here are my notes on that record in a track by track breakdown.
Atlantic Postcard- A shimmering pop song that could have been recorded in 1982. It's a mostly keyboard driven song as an album opener grabs your attention and puts you in a disco trance.
There is a keyboard line within the pop structure that veers slightly out of tune. Safe and warm like vintage My Bloody Valentine. A guitar hook emerges on top of the hypnotic keyboard sound. The mix is echoey, trippy and catchy.
Dreamy- MDMA is an aesthetic experience that makes you want to preach "love" from mountaintops. Breathy vocals like the kind of singing one does when they are so blissed out on MDMA. This song creates a sonic structure that feels as if it's perched at the top of the mountain. There is a yearning in the vocals reminiscent of Spiritualized. The pop hooks fold neatly into the overall production.
Late or Night- Feels like that second MGMT record Congratulations (I was the only person to like Congratulations more than their first record). It has a similar clean pop production with psychedelic intentions. Washes of keyboards and a bouncing bassline that feels like it's trying to reach the dance floor by way of Pink Floyd Animals. The breakdown halfway through brings us square into 1974. It's the kind of record you would sit with at your parent's house while passing the bong around after school. You can put this on a makeout mix.
French Movie Theme- Airy, gauzy keyboards shroud this record with disco flourishes. It makes me wonder why psychedelia appeals to younger generation. Can you even get LSD anymore? Taking LSD was very helpful to me in terms of learning to let go and accept the cosmic joke that is the universe. This song is hitting all the right notes for a psychedelic pop hit from the 70's, and that's probably why I don't love it. It shows me nothing new.
If I Could Find You (Eternally)- Every song sounds sort of the same after awhile. Which can be an enjoyable thing if it's the Ramones.
I Don't Feel Like It- In this song, there are hints of Big Star. Although unlike Alex Chilton, these songs meander. It sounds like this band packed up several horses and camels on a trip through the desert and came back with a very average mystical experience. This part of the album hits a lull for me.
Concorde- The best song on the album and perhaps the most realized of all these songs. There is a catchy guitar line echoing around on top of keyboard latticework structure. The refrain eloquently pulls back and gives the song space. On the third listen I tried to match my drug intake to this record to inhabit the same plane.
Baby, I'm Going Away- This record picks up steam at the previous track. In this song we have the same sort of airy keyboard structure, but what ties this together is the clean guitar. This is the direction that I would like to see this band emerge towards. Psychedelia is usually at its best when it's kept under control.
Generique Noir- Another relaxed guitar riff driven song. Samples of kids playing outside and street scenes bring us back down to earth, yet just hovering above it. The drugs wear off and the comedown is inevitable.
Submarine Gold- This one successfully captures the essence of the trip.
U Don't Wake Up- Shades of house music start echoing around your head before this even begins in earnest. This feels like a shift in tone.
Remember Well- An interesting percussion element opens the passage for a subpar Mark Knopfler guitar line. This seems like a good choice for the end of the record. It combines the more interesting aspects from the collection of songs.
While I have heard some of this band's other records I can't say I'm familiar with their work enough to form a cohesive conclusion on the importance of this record in the Holydrug Couple catalog. While there are promising moments, the tendency to meander into the 1970's is regressive. Yes, many bands borrow from the 1970's. That's inevitable, but can you build on top of that idealism? It's a record your parents might like. It's a forgettable group of songs by a band with the potential to push things further.
Moonlust by The Holydrug Couple comes out on May 12 on the wonderful Sacred Bones Records.
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