Review: Arthur Moon – Our Head

The new EP by Arthur Moon, the pseudonym of singer-songwriter Lora-Faye Ashuvud, contains a considerable amount more sonic variety than you might initially anticipate from the opening, ethereal minimalism. Not quite your average dream pop act, it doesn’t take long for Arthur Moon to throw her wide palette of sounds at you, first track ‘Room’ taking in a banjo lick and distorted rock guitar chords alongside the dreamy reverb and electronic undertones. The track morphs from soft gentleness into louder, thick textures, but is over just as suddenly as the intrigue started, leaving you disorientated but certainly eager for more.

‘Wind Up’ follows, and its opening distinctive, soft vocal and ringing synth pad could be fully mistaken for an unreleased track by Icelandic multi-instrumentalist Sóley, so clear is her influence. A spoken-word sample pervades, speaking of the perils of modern consumer society and despite the subject matter sitting at odds with the low key, calm mood, it somehow works in tying together the gaps between Lora-Faye’s verses. The electric guitars eventually creep back in, adding an almost shoegaze element before the whole entity becomes more driven and soulful  with the addition of acoustic drums. Once again, a lot of musical evolution is crammed into a surprisingly small period of time.

The soulful vibe continues into ‘Bold Affair’, an off-kilter time signature slightly shaking up an otherwise less absorbing track. However, with the funky rock break that ends the song, a pattern is emerging, confirmed by penultimate track ‘Boxing’ which begins with another subtle groove. A quiet, electronic sheen is mixed with shuffling jazz intervals and as the longest track, there is more time for the music to grow between the styles covered on the rest of the EP, adding up to make this the best example of Arthur Moon’s wide breadth of styles. The transitions are not always perfectly realised or reasoned and there is an element of meandering as a result, but the delicate middle section is lovely as a standalone.

The very gradual electronic crescendo of the closing Beatles cover suits Ashuvud’s voice very well, her experimental reworking of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ a truly individual take. As it recedes, you are left with generally pleasant feelings about this slightly confused release. All the ideas here are at the very least worth exploring and many of them are simply lovely, and it seems that these songs would be better explored on larger scales and on a full-length release with more time to hone each moment. This is less of a criticism and more of a complement to Arthur Moon’s creativity, though, and what could come next could be truly mesmerising.

Richard Spencer

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