The Moth & The Flame: &- I decided to take a break from synth wave this week and delve into something a little different. I was pleased to hear select tracks from The Moth & The Flame’s latest EP, &. The compilation begins with ‘Sorry,’ starting us off with a catchy bass line, tasty percussion, guitars. It’s almost a waltz. The vocals remind me of many indie, neo-folk bands of today; breathy and almost contrived, warm and yet straining. It’s not my favorite kind of singing, but it certainly works for this sound.
The coolest element of this band is the percussion, and I was pleased to learn that Joey Waronker, the drummer for Atoms for Peace and Beck, produced the album. The best example of these stylings are in the second track, which also happens to be my favorite, ‘Winsome.’ The song utilizes tasteful chord structures and progressions all arranged in exciting rhythms. To give you a better idea, here’s a quote from the band’s biography detailing on this aspect: “Driving rhythms oscillate between standard and atypical time signatures that can, at times, be chaotic and bent; this is met with melody lines augmented and distorted by pitch bending, filtering, and looping. The music tilts and teeters nearly out of control, but there’s always a backbone, always an opposing, upright force acting as the compass point. Bleating, atonal notes help create the musical drama and tension to meet the lyrical mood of &.” Really, there’s no better way to put it.
One thing that I admire about this band is their appreciation for art and their ability to emulate emotion through music. The approach is almost cinematic. Here’s another quote from the same bio (which can be found on their Facebook page): “For TM&TF, capturing a particular feeling lies at the center of their songwriting; they strive to assess each turn in the writing and recording process and ask if it serves the greater mood of a song. The lead single, ‘Sorry,’ an intense, cathartic track, sets the tone for & and introduces the recurring themes of desire & betrayal and sadness & hope. Other songs, like ‘Monster,’ showcase a musical blend of chaos & beauty, which builds to a wild sounding jumble, yet never blossoms to resolution. Thematic, intentional music is nothing new for TM&TF, who have always had heavy inclinations towards crafting a precise aesthetic for their sounds, which often play in tandem with visual art. The band’s debut album was only made available in physical copies, because the music & the art were integral; the band noted that the cover art was the first track. TM&TF is known for their elaborate art installations. A series of 20 foottall anthropomorphic giant sculptures announced their debut album almost two years ago.”
If you’re looking for that new band with that sweet, rousing, and rockin’ sound, look no further than The Moth & The Flame. & is, in a word, cool; the perfect thing for both the experienced and the novice listener… 9.5/10