ON the whole, the old idiom of “lightning in a bottle” is one that isn’t too applicable in the social media era. Where bands of the past could hone their craft in dingy provincial towns or small-scale venues before ever being exhibited to the wider world, the advent of not only instant information but gratification has made it harder than ever for musicians to leave an indelible mark on the psyche. Yet when they emerged in 2015, this nearly insurmountable feat is one that Man Of Moon achieved whilst keeping their mystique firmly intact. From the first strains of their debut track, the Edinburgh-based duo took the jaded or disaffected listeners and bludgeoned them over the head with an magnetism that simply couldn’t be ignored.
After two years of toiling away in the studio, the group are finally ready to set the heather alight once more with their forthcoming EP Chemicals. Primed and ready to embark on their UK tour- which features a headline show at Glasgow’s Stereo this Friday followed by a special TTV Afters show at The Amsterdam on Brunswick Street, we’ve decided that now is a fitting time for a retrospective on the band’s career thus far in order to portray their near-intangible brilliance to anyone that’s as yet unacquainted.
‘The Road’: Where It All Began
Although it may have blossomed into a fan favourite in the years that have elapsed, no-one could’ve expected just how formidable the debut single from Man Of Moon was before its release. Upon its emergence in 2015, we were quick to lavish praise on it and it foreshadowed what was to come in the not-too-distant future:
“A band that has grown in leaps and bounds over the past year or so, Man Of Moon have found themselves beset with ever-increasing hype from various corners of the industry. Impressing throngs of music lovers with their set at Live At Glasgow and their performances supporting The Twilight Sad and The Phantom Band, they are preparing to astound thousands more with debut single ‘The Road.’
Hazy and yet incredibly lucid, ‘The Road’ touches upon the psychedelic tendencies of acts such as Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Smith Westerns whilst coming across as altogether more direct and pop based. Led by a propulsive riff and equally attention grabbing percussion, the ethereal synth textures and vivid vocal presence of Chris Bainbridge merge to create something truly special.”
‘This World’: The path less taken…
The more woozy and transcendent counterpart, ‘This World’ took the sonic template of ‘The Road’ and went off into an ethereal plane. Yet again, we were forthcoming in our praise:
“Setting off with brilliantly foreboding guitar that sounds as though it could’ve been strummed by Johnny Cash during his American Recordings period, ‘This World’ is a dread filled ditty that features effects laden vocals and a hypnotic groove that is sure to mesmerise droves of new converts. Maintaining a plodding pace that expresses a feeling of anguish, it is all at once catapulted into the atmospheric, math rock territory of acts such as Alt J and Foals circa Total Life Forever. Despite the fact that there are influences on display, Man of Moon have carved out something which is entirely of their own construction; with its unexpected tempos and sudden shift making for a remarkable listen.”
TENEMENT TV Rising Stars of 2015
In the wake of the evidence they’d presented, we were quick to dub MoM our breakout band of 2015. Four years on from our initial assessment, the duo have only corroborated the belief that we had:
“Now capable of selling out shows with relative ease and with one of their biggest moments supporting The Twilight Sad at Glasgow’s iconic Barrowland Ballroom earlier this month, it’s not hard to discern from the evidence presented that Man Of Moon are on the ascendancy.
Unwilling to follow any blueprint, Man Of Moon are heading off the beaten track and in an entirely new direction, nonplussed by the burden of expectation and preparing to leave us in awe yet again in 2016.”
Just as predicted, Man Of Moon would do exactly that in the form of 2016’s Medicine EP. Comprised of four riveting tracks that demonstrated their prodigious versatility, it was a project that was robust beyond their years and earned 8.5/10 from us at the time.
“Man Of Moon can rest safe in the knowledge that their ambitiousness is not misguided and the songs which they’ve poured over for the last year have ensured that they remain one of the nation’s hottest prospects to have emerged in decades.”
TENEMENT TV Session
Four months on from the EP’s release, Man Of Moon visited our HQ to turn in uproarious live versions of ‘Sign’ and ‘When I Wake.
Prior to voyaging out on tour with none other than Django Django, we chatted to the band about what was on the horizon. With the benefit of hindsight, the words ring true as to how their 2019 has went thus far:
“We love playing live shows in front of audiences and being able to gauge peoples reactions to new material and ideas, so it was a strange experience for us to play less shows than we have done in recent years. However we have loved working on new material with different producers in different studios. This time has allowed us to really find our sound and bring to light certain aspects we think are important. We are extremely excited to release new material, especially for people who have waited so patiently! We do get messages on social media fairly frequently about this, we’d love to put out music more quickly, but we’ve gotta get it right. The process has taken a while but we were always determined to put out something that we are both truly proud of.”
2019 – The Second Coming
As far as what’s been presented thus far, it certainly seems as though they’ve fulfilled the criteria of getting it right. For all that it may have felt like an arduous wait, it’s one that was worth undertaking if ‘Ride The Waves’ and ‘Skin’ is any representation of things to come.
The first track to be taken from the long-awaited Chemicals EP, ‘Ride The Waves’ was helmed by The Horrors’ Tom Furse and is defined by its perfect alchemy between the disparate sounds of kraut rock and sprawling post-punk. Led by an unconventional rhythm from drummer Mikey Reid, the undefined parameters of the beat gives frontman Chris Bainbridge ample room to open up a sinister vortex of meandering vocals and hypnotic guitars. Rather than rehash the past or rely on the tried and tested, the duo have taken that air of hallucinogenic uncertainty that brought them to the forefront and elevated it to a new and far more immersive realm. To put it simply, if the mark of a great band is to leave fans wondering how you can possibly evolve or diversify before going on to surpass those expectations then it’s a criteria that Man Of Moon have met and expanded upon.
Bred from equal parts slinking sonic depravity of the ilk that would make Suicide’s Alan Vega or Trent Reznor take notice and the intersection between post-punk and dance music that made superstars of James Murphy’s LCD Soundsystem, its follow-up ‘Skin’ is anything but a passive listen. Ominous and cloaked in a lingering sense of menace, Bainbridge’s emotionless tone on its mantra-like chorus and the steady build of its layered synths and rhythms gives the track a ritualistic ambience that beckons you in further and further as the track progresses. A diametric shift from “Ride The Wave”, their genre-bending audaciousness, songwriting chops and reluctance to be pigeonholed into the boundaries they’d once existed in is a trifecta that makes the prospect of their new EP a very enticing one to say the very least.
Get all the details on their tour and the newly announced ‘TTV Afters’ below: