If you haven’t noticed, we’re deep into the goth AF portion of my record collection, where the vast majority of records I was buying were primarily for the purposes of playing in bars to people so they could dance. Or at least be in an environment to get drunk around good, dark music. And people requested stuff pretty frequently—usually the hits (“Can you play some Depeche Mode?” or “If you want to play more Nick Cave that’s just fine with me”), but more often than I would have guessed, people wanted to hear stuff that was pretty new. And I was just fine with that—if I was just playing the same songs every week (which is a complaint I often hear about DJ nights), I’d get bored fast and want to move on.
Part of what’s been growing in popularity in goth circles (or “hipster goth” if you want to go there) is some of the more ethereal darkwave stuff, heavy on synths, light on slappers. And some of that stuff’s fine, but my interests were in introducing weirder, heavier, less by-the-book music, like Algiers. The Soft Moon is a little closer to vintage coldwave, but by this album, they were taking on more industrial and post-punk sounds to deliver a record that takes more chances, goes more places, breaks the mold a bit.
To make this point clear, if I haven’t in 421 records yet, I like dark music that kicks your ass. I think all music should kick your ass, really. Even if it’s slow, quiet music, it should leave an impact. Part of what bothers me about the past few years of music is that everything’s trending toward anticlimactic, whispery lullabies and I’ve honestly been so bored with it. And you know, hate to say it, but there’s been an element of that in goth-adjacent music as well. You think The Cure wasn’t making music that absolutely slapped? Because they were. Even Faith slapped.
And so does Deeper. “Black” is gnarly synth ooze. “Far” makes good use of Joy Division jitters. And the title track is basically some kind of psychedelic black magic dance around a massive bonfire. That’s sort of how I imagine what’s going on anyway. It’s a good record, and it holds up live too—onstage The Soft Moon have a faster, heavier, more punk rock presence, which is always a good thing.
In 2018 I interviewed The Soft Moon’s Luis Vasquez, and he was a pretty interesting dude, but what always fascinates me is when musicians talk about their complications within the music industry. Openly, bluntly, etc. This didn’t make it into the actual feature, but when Vasquez discussed leaving his label, Captured Tracks, and moving to Sacred Bones, he said something to the effect of “Once Mac DeMarco blew up, we weren’t really a priority anymore.” Ouch. But Sacred Bones has a good roster, so there you go.
Sound Quality: Great