The Moth Lantern
Light Waves is available from:
End of Summer– 9.6/10.0
Fall In– 9.6
Black Shapes– 9.6
Bad Sun– 9.6
On a Boat, On the Water– 9.5
The Light That Broke the Waves– 9.6
The Nightmare Is Just the Beginning– 9.6
Fall In, Black Shapes, Fly, The Light That Broke the Waves, Taser
23rd June, 2014
℗ 2014 The Moth Lantern
Alternative, Indie-Rock, Grunge, Pop, Acoustic, Psychedelia
The Lincolnshire four-piece have gained praise from the likes of Steve Lamacq and Stuart Maconie. With their music taking in the likes of Radiohead, Fleetwood Mac, Pearl Jam and The Beach Boys- these music warriors are destined for regal climbs. Light Waves is the sound of The Moth Lantern at their very best: filled with sweeping epics, delicious ballads and colourful jams, it is an album (and band) you need in your life.
QUITE a turbulent and unsettling past few days has seen…
a rather horrific world event. Having just heard of another tragic air crash- in which near to 300 people died- it has got me thinking about the world at large. I know it is an unorthodox beginning to a music review, yet the point I am leading to is this: stability, assurance and safety is needed- as much now as it ever was. The likelihood of the likes of you and me becoming involved in such a horror is incredibly slim- the world is becoming more unpredictable and detached by the week. Whilst bewildered eyes scan the magnitude of unfolding catastrophe; try to comprehend just how people- that perpetrate such crimes- are allowed to wander and breathe- anxious and confused minds need soothing and redemption. It would be a leap to suggest that an art form such as music can completely allay such stresses: bearing no physical manifestations, it is limited in its overall potential. Saying that, it is important to recognise just how effective and uplifting music can be: it not only can distract the mind for a short period; it is capable of providing long-term support and pleasure. All of us- to some extent- need an escape from the vicissitudes of modern life: somewhere personal and warm that can fill cracks and ensure our minds are not too weighed down- the music coming through at the moment is providing plenty of options. I know I have long spoken of this facet- it shall be the last time I will for a while- yet brand-new music is impressing me now more than it ever has- the acts emerging are surprising and confounding me every week. In the past few days, I have assessed everything from Canadian Grunge/Indie; U.K. Folk beauty; Acoustic sway and of-the-moment Electro.-Pop: you would be hard-pressed to draw a line through these disparate acts. Staggering to see just what a range and diversity the music fan is being offered right now: if you search hard enough you can discover something genuinely fantastic and tantalising. Having dedicated a lot of focus towards bands (and that market), I am always excited to see a genuinely eager and talented group come through- musicians that separate themselves apart and ensure their music lodges into your brain. My featured act is garnering some tremendous praise and adulation at the moment- high-profile and reputable commentators are keen to pay tribute to one of this country’s brightest new acts. Having won support from the likes of BBC 6 and nationwide publications, The Moth Lantern are definitely a group you need to keep your eyes on. Before I go into too much detail, let me introduce them to you:
“The Moth Lantern are a 4 piece indie rock band from Lincoln. They encompass the spirit of bands such as Fleetwood Mac with a wide range of songs from gentle acoustic ballads with luscious 4-piece harmonies to giant-sized rock songs which liken them to The Bends era Radiohead and Pearl Jam.”
“The indie/acoustic band delighted Olympic crowds with a fun energetic up-tempo set, contrasted superbly by original potent ballads, written by band’s guitar virtuoso, Dan Clark; Jo Clark (Keyboard and Vocals) adds glamour & dynamism to the group, whilst drummer Eddie George provides the throbbing beats which underpins the unique Moth Lantern sound. Jason Rungapadiachy (Bass Guitar & Vocals) Jason’s powerful vocals are a compelling proposition, adding integrity and depth, as can be clearly heard on all tracks such as ‘ARMOUR’ and the hugely popular crowd pleasing ballad ‘COMFORT’”
Being a huge fan of Radiohead, Fleetwood Mac and Pearl Jam; I was a little sceptical- at first anyway- that a sapling band could reach such dizzying and impressive climbs. Seeing as The Bends is my all-time favourite album, I was salivating (slightly) upon hearing the first notes (The Moth Lantern provided). The music offered by the quartet is an aperture of upbeat and emphatic Rock- the band have plenty in their arsenal that compels the mind and instills embers of classic acts. A lot of my reviews have focused around bands- by quite a majority- and in all the years I have been doing this, I have been seeking an act that can combine U.S. Grunge of the ’80s and ’90s; together with early/mid-’90s British Rock and Indie: it may sound like a strange desire; when those sounds are mixed the blend is quite sensational and hypnotic. With the likes of Radiohead taking an extended hiatus and sabbatical, there is a desperate gap in the market: most modern acts either tend to go heavier and harder or softer and less striking- The Moth Lantern manage to strike the perfect balance without coming off as Radiohead copycats. I will go more into their overall sound later, but will end with one final point: the way to get critical acclaim. Aside from receiving impassioned praise from the likes of Stuart Maconie, Steve Lamacq and Pete Donaldson (Absolute Radio), the band have been touching many fans and music-lovers- each knowing they have stumbled upon something rather special. Many have different opinions on what the greatest ever album is- they are wrong, but hey- and have their own views: The Moth Lantern have picked the perfect influences and range of sounds- cunningly and expertly blended them in their own right and present music that put you in a better head space. I miss the glory days of the ’90s: when music was at its very finest and it seemed like anything could be acheived- our quartet bring you back to those days but keep your mind and head in 2014- they have pulled off quite a feat. In addition to having an impressive online portfolio, the band have a great love of their supporters (and the music they play)- you just know they are going to be making music for the rest of their lives. In an industry where there are far too many short-lived heroes, it is great to discover a band you just know is going to go all the way: make sure you offer your support and watch them as they embark on a fantastic career.
For the freshly-initiated and newly-indoctrinated, I should probably give you an insight into the band’s past work- to show how their sound has developed and transmogrified. Light Waves is the first album from the four-piece- and their most fully-realised work to date. Having formed several years ago, the band have been busy working on their sound; putting the songs together and giving the public a chance to hear what they are capable of. Their self-titled E.P. was released in November 2012 and was the group’s debut E.P.- it was met with critical acclaim and a fond amount of respect. I shall not dissect the songs of the E.P.- they feature on Light Waves so will not tread on my own toes- but it was a terrifically confident and assured four-track release. The songs Fall In, Armour and Comfort have been in the ether for a little while and form part of Light Waves– again, I shall not dive into those tracks just now. What I can say about their past work, is that it imbued with clear confidence and identity. Normally, bands take a while to overcome nerves and hit the high points: it can take months to enforce their own sound and feel comfortable in their own skin. When listening to the likes of The Moth Lantern, I was stunned by how diverse they were: being a first E.P., most acts would tend to play it safe; present songs that had sounded alike. The quartet display a restlessness and ambition right from the very start: the sound of a band that know what they want comes through. When looking back at their past work, there is one track (not included on the album)- Christmas Lights. Possessing obvious seasonal relevance, the song is no novelty or bland Christmas number- it is a genuine and compelling number. Beginning with an upbeat and The Bends-esque spiralling coda; the track has an instant spring and energy: lodging itself under your skin, a remarkable amount of intent is proffered. When the vocal does come in, it mixes Barenaked Ladies and Eddie Vedder: that gravelled and masculine burr mingles with spirited and impassioned delivery. With U.S. tones (Barenaked Ladies are Canadian technically), it works well with the lyrics. Breaking away from predictable parables, The Moth Lantern inject optimism and love-against-the-odds; there is sexuality and wittiness to be found- the abiding theme is finding satisfaction and love on Christmas eve. Infusing some distinct band tones- the gorgeous backing by Clark; the sensational blend of sounds- the track is one that should be enjoyed all-year round- it is for life after all. Few acts are brave enough to attempt a Christmas-themed song- unless money and commercialism is their motive- so it is impressive that The Moth Lantern not only have created one- it stands alongside their most impressive work. In concluding, the sagest thing I can do is to see how far the band have come in the last couple of years. Whereas The Moth Lantern have been exciting music minds since 2012, their 2014 movements demonstrate a leap of confidence and ability. As incredible as their past singles are, the newer material perhaps shows even more ability and urgency. Whereas Christmas Lights and Fall In contained some phenomenal touches and wonderful moments- my mind has been spiked by their latest offerings. Light Waves comes across as a connected, consistent and a seemless work that beautifully blends in their previous singles- together with new offerings. The ambition and quality have increased- they were already fantastic- as has their range of sounds and themes. Incorporating influences such as Radiohead and Pearl Jam, Light Waves opens up more: ’90s embers and classic Pop mixes with a distinct band that promises a hell of a ride. Opulence and inner beauty can be found trading with longing, emotion and love. The band incorporate quirky and eccentric themes; charm and wit spars alongside heaviness and heartache- at the core is a sound that is hard to refute or ignore. I suppose the biggest development the band has made is releasing the album: it gives the public a chance to witness the full potency and potential of one of the U.K.’s finest emerging acts. Anyone new to The Moth Lantern, I would say this: go back and listen to their previous tracks; then listen to the album (in isolation)- compare and contrast. You can hear a development and growth; their new L.P. shows how inspired and in awe the band are- they have lived exciting musical lives; it comes through in Technicolor detail and vividity.
The band have a long list on influences and idols: mixing genres, decades and styles it is an impressive roll-call. The essence of early-days Beatles shows itself in their softer and more introverted moments. When proceedings lean towards ballad territory; where there is a sweeter and more romantic edge, I caught glimmers of Rubber Soul– and the Liverpudlians early albums. Band leader Dan Clark has an ear for melody and composition: he packs songs with so much life and energy- it has an element of ’60s Power-Pop. When surveying Light Waves you can tell that Lennon and McCartney are heroes of our frontman: he has a fond love and authority on the best music the 1960s had to offer- modernising the sound and adapting it into his own vision. The band is renowned for their sunny moments and four-piece harmonies- a few names spring to mind. The Beatles may be relevant here as well. Often Lennon, McCartney and Harrison would take lead- Starr would intermittently steal focus. I feel the Liverpool legends were at their most spine-tingling when blending their voices together. Tracks like Hey Jude and With a Little Help from My Friends are among the band’s most special moments. That joy, uplift and endless bonhomie (and coming together) is what I associate with the band: you get that feeling when The Moth Lantern allow their tones to combine and seduce. The Beach Boys are another band that feature highly in the group’s regards. That Californian ’60s free-spirit resonates in their most joyous and elliptical moments: the delirious and sunshine harmonies evoke the spirit of Surfin’ Safari and Surfin’ U.S.A. (their earliest moments); the band are equally adept at taking you to surf scenes and packed beaches as they are the open road and stretching highways. Few acts contain one great singer- let alone four. Their distinct and equally powerful tones not only are superb when blending with one another: each band member stands out when their voices are allowed moments in the spotlight. When the mood is a little more sombre and reflective, you can detect influences of Folk and Acoustic masters Nick Drake and Elliot Smith. Whilst not projecting the same sort of suicidality and black velvet kiss, the band are capable of making you reflect and consider life’s essential themes- when they let their music calm and quell; quite a stunning effect is elicited. Rungapadiachy’s voice is a mailable and diverse instrument that is at home when soaring and climbing into the atmosphere; in addition to touching the soul and pulling on the heartstrings. The same brilliance and rich sound that Fleetwood Mac pervaded- especially their Dreams-era work- comes through in Light Waves. In addition to the vocal harmonies and the multi-talented band members, the group present the same sort of Blues-Rock energy: at times when listening to The Moth Lantern, I catch glimpses of Dreams, Tusk and Mirage– those insatiable and memorable songs just lodge in your brain. Unlike the turbulent and fractured eventfulness of Fleetwood Mac, our Lincolnshire quartet are much more harmonious and together- giving their songs an additional layer of conviction and beauty. A few other acts enter your thoughts- when you hear The Moth Lantern. Pearl Jam rank as one of the group’s top influences: you can sense some of Eddie Vedder’s passion and masculine growl blend into some of The Moth Lantern’s tracks (when Rungapadiachy sings on tracks such as Armour, you can definitely detect that sense of strength and integrity). I adore Pearl Jam’s epic and stunning brand of song- if you listen to Vitalogy and Ten you hear a band at the very peak of their powers. In addition to being able to unleash stirring and incredibly deep vocals- that mix lower and grumbled croon with high-pitched climbs- The Moth Lantern have a great Grunge undertone- they can summon up Ten‘s luster and impressionistic touches; that drama and larger-than-life vision. Whilst Vitalogy was lauded for its relentless bleakness and depression, it was celebrated (by insightful critics) due to its substance and sense of fight- the album went on to become one of Rolling Stones‘ top 500 albums of all-time. Perhaps the most distinct and impressive parable one can link to The Moth Lantern is Radiohead. Many reviewers have noted how our quartet match the majesty, epic-ness and driving beauty of The Bends-era Radiohead- that album is my absolute favourite for a number of reasons. In addition to some startlingly beautiful tracks- Fake Plastic Trees, (Nice Dream), High and Dry– the band also provided hypnotic and spiraling monsters- The Bends, My Iron Lung, Just– as well as more haunted and shadowy tracks- Street Spirit (Fade Out), Bullet Proof…I Wish I Was– there was a cornucopia of wonder to be witnessed. The Moth Lantern are equally considerate when it comes to mood and range. Not only do they summon up the ‘Britpop’-era’s outsider album; they assimilate that essential dynamics that make Radiohead the legends they are: compelling and startling vocals; incredible riffs and compositions; tight and assured performances- a consistency that sees them not dropping a heartbeat from start to finish. It seems like a poisoned chalice- if you compare a band to such lofty geniuses- but The Moth Lantern are no rip-offs or tribute band: you get a bubbling undertone of Radiohead- you never feel like you are hearing anything too obvious or glaring. It is true that there is a lot of range and different threads there- when it comes to collecting all of the band’s influences- a lot of their idols are either bygone or past their prime. That is not to say that The Moth Lantern’s sounds stop at 1995: modernity, urgency, current-day passion and sounds come through in their music. Perfectly blending classic sounds (with the sounds of 2014), you get a rich and multi-layered package: one that appeals to the modern music consumer in addition to those with a fond fascination with the glories of the ’60s and ’70s. You must always assess a band on their own merits: do not assume that The Moth Lantern are going to sound too much like anyone familiar. The greatest thing you can say about the four-piece is that they have a distinct and wholly unique voice: loathed and hard-pressed to compare it to anyone else, it is the result of years of focus, honing and cross-pollination- instilled with such a force that everything they perform sounds utterly compelling and mesmeric.
An emotional and tender sonic combination opens up End of Summer. Perhaps befitting of the song’s title; rustling strings and atmospheric percussion elicits a scene of tranquility and breeze- it has elements of The Cinematic Orchestra’s most evocative work, and instantly calms the senses. Enmeshed in the gentleness are spacey and distorted notes: touches of psychedelic guitar merge to add colour into the mix- your mind changes course and has something new to consider; perhaps a new season is being unveiled. After a trippy and Funk-infused mini-jam, the acoustic strings overladen and reinforce their dominance- before our hero steps to the mic. Backed by a propulsive and catchy drive- that put me in mind of The Doors- the smoky and coffee tones (sounding a little like early Jim Morrison) look at a “ball on a chain tied to my feet.” Things are getting deep and our hero sounds a little anxious and unsure: perhaps a relationship is moving too fast; working at a pace that is quite uncomfortable- that sense of entrapment filters through in the early stages. Your thoughts are reassessed after some instantly dark and unsettling thoughts- the river is deep and a body is being thrown in. Whether speaking metaphorically- looking at emotional issues or end of love- or literally, it is a vivid and stark image. After the beauty and positivity of the intro., something dangerous and deathly comes into play- the mood is kept from being mordant due to the rousing and striking vocal; the ebullient skip of the composition gives the track a charming peppiness. With a cohort and colleague in hand, the body is thrown into the (deep) sea. Bereft and confused it is said “Don’t know how it started“- a situation is unfolding that has escalated and spiralled out of control. Catching shooting stars (and seeing blinding lights), the end of summer arrives- our hero and his band have not got very far; their backs are against the wall. Wonderfully balancing the angst and unrest of the lyrics is a composition that mutates and conspires. Funky and delirious guitars mix with driving bass; the percussion injects a huge amount of punch and swagger- that spacey and robotic coda lurks in the background; adding delirium and hypnotic smoke. Our hero has trouble in him: with his voice rises and belting, the emotion and force of events hits him- perhaps the outcome here is obvious. Whilst the chorus is re-introduced and prophesied, the band combine in the final moments: a primal and ragged drum roll gives way to a squalling and rampant guitar rapture- perhaps representing the urgency and tension of the situation, it is a frantic and mesmerising arresting climax. Armour arrives next- the track is already a firm fan favourite. Smooth and cooing vocals are supported by a sun-kissed and foot-tapping acoustic line- after the repressed tension of the previous number, your mind is back on safe ground. Sounding like no other band, the song wins you instantly with its gorgeous and swooning heart: you sense that something romantic is upon us. “We made you in the setting sun” are the first words offered up: our hero proclaims- to his subject- that he’s their “second skin.” Determined to stop all suffering, it is an intriguing and deep beginning. Proclaiming to his sweetheart that he’ll be their armour; the honesty and directness of the words make the song stand out- you get a sense of chivalry and tender longing. Backed by swaying and serene vocals- from Jo Clark- the emotions and passion wash over your senses- our hero is not made of strong stuff but is going to make sure he is tough enough (to protect his love). The song’s constant energy and drive makes you sing-along and become involved- you are rooting for the hero and captivated by his treaty. Displaying an old-fashioned gentlemen’s heart; tied to a composition that melts modern-day Folk and Acoustic- it is a wonderful and impressive mix. Charmed and smiling guitars parabond with romantic and tender notes- towards the final stages- as the vocal comes back in: determined to make his words resonate, the delivery is hot-bloodied and impassioned. Following Rungapadiachy’s intensely emotive vocals, Fall In offers a different direction: the intro. grooves, trips and dances; imbued with Latin and Hispanic undertones, it is a gorgeous opening offering. When the get-up-and-dance parable mixes with a more teeth-clenching (and raw) guitar line, a huge amount of energy and invigoration is whipped up- it is an incredibly addictive and memorable intro. Supported by a spectral- with an energised stutter- backing, our hero has some heavy words to proffer: having had enough of things, he finds himself sleeping rough- resigned to a life of uncertainty and escape. With a mix of Radiohead’s compositional gifts (plus Barenaked Ladies-esque vocal), you get a real treat in Fall In. The chorus is another catchy gem that is incorporated of energy and inflamed vocals. My mind raced back to early moments: with our hero stating “tell my people“; it is almost as though he is being cast in an ecumenical role: whether a pastor or a figure of salvation, you feel as though his flock and followers are being addressed. If the words concern friends and family, I am not sure; you cannot deny there is epic and grand proportions at play. With a delicious croon- that puts me in mind of both Jim Morrison and Neil Hannon- you get caught up in that chest-beating and chocolate voice: masculine and sexual; teasing and tender, it is a phenomenal blend. Our hero speaks to his woman: wanting her to be his, there is lust and passion on his mind- a great need for survival. Detachment and disconnectedness come through- this life is providing a different road and is unconventional and unpredictable. The song tells us that not everyone follows the same path: some people are safe and make it through- our intrepid battler is going down another road. The composition is impressive throughout: twiddling and twirling guitars, bouncing and sensual bass mix with punchy percussion- it is bad-ass, kick-ass and utterly compelling. Such a grandeur is summoned by the band, it is impossible to not get caught up in the song: the track will mark itself out as a live favourite in next to no time. Introducing some Absolution-era Muse- in the composition- the track entrances the senses: agog at the final moments, the song reaches fever-pitch. Clark lets his guitar snake and charge- Jazz-Rock and Grunge edges contort and seduce- crunching space-age riffs mingle alongside carnivorous wailing- your head and brain are scrambled and split into two. As the track comes to a close, it is impossible not to think that one of the album’s finest cuts has been witnessed. Myself begins with a sensual and stop-start intro. Our hero is fatigued and not quite himself: desiring to sleep and rest his bones, the composition trips and topples- perhaps underpinning that sense of tiredness and confusion. Knowing he will wake “feeling just the same” there is a delicious Eddie Vedder-esque croak and gravel in the tones: words concerning dull aches and the need to re-energise are given full conviction and consideration- few singers could present the words with the same intent. When the song rises; the composition kicks up a gear; the first sign- of the band’s legendary harmonies- comes into force: words such as “I hate this/My mind doesn’t belong to me” really strike a chord. Eliciting huge emotion and strained outpouring, signs of early-career Pearl Jam poke through- it is a treasure that could easily fit onto Ten. With elegant and ethereal backing vocals, sleep gives our man “remedy“- whatever is on his mind, it is clearly causing him some unrest and insomnia. The band combine spectacularly in the composition: the guitar mutates and offers different shades; the percussion keeps constant and firm- the bass ensures that everything is kept in check and does not spiral out of control. Clark’s alluring and Siren beauty is what lingers in my mind- as Myself comes to its final stage. Black Shapes is my kind of song. A delightfully upbeat and springy acoustic guitar parable arrives after a false-start: a chuckle and ‘studio out-take’ moment gives the song an instant smile and charm. Such a rush and emphatic amount of intention comes through in the intro. you struggle to take it all in. Our hero’s voice is fast-paced and direct- in Myself it was calmed and somnambulistic- as he looks at black shapes crawling on the bedroom floor. In times like this, the last thing he needs is “a vivid imagination“- a sense of paranoia and unease make their voices known. Whether seeing the shadow of intruders; some ghostly finger in his room, it has left our hero a little breathless and worried- by the morning it has left him. A weird dream; the black shapes get closer and closer: with his voice rising and straining, that sense of desperation and fear comes back in- you wonder just where the story is going to go. Trying to close his eyes and forget things, it is a recurring nightmare that is plaguing his mind. When the song reaches its 3:30 mark, the composition becomes eerie and haunted: aching and pizzicato sounds fuse with a delirious wordless vocal- it is a wonderfully potent and arresting musical moment. Instantly that kick and upbeat drive comes back in- there is almost a positivity and sense of joy when the nightmare relinquish its grip. Theremin-sounding wails blend with acoustic strings: after the rapture and relief of the previous refrain, here we get a beautiful come-down- the band demonstrating they can end a song as impressively as they begin them. Twinkling and gorgeously seductive guitar notes give Bad Sun a terrific opening: Blues embers combine with Doors luster; giving the impression of the sun setting on a warm and bare desert horizon. Providing a rousing follow-on, the intro. mutates into an upright and effusive parable- reminding me a little of Blur’s Coffee & TV. Our hero looks up and investigates the sun: it is said that a man promises there is a star up there we can travel to; a destination that is “not too far“- oblique and byzantine curiosity makes your mind wonder. The song’s subject is lying and falsifying; long in the tooth, he is welching on his promises- the dissatisfaction and anger in our hero’s voice brings the words to life with huge emotional emphasis. Looking at the subject floating in space; there is “no use in hiding.” We are told that nothing comes from something; something comes from nothing- you wonder what is being referenced- as the bad sun is introduced. Our hero’s distinct and endless voice gives the song a constant sense of drama and fascination: backed by a tight and impressive band performance- shades of The Bends poke through the surface. Letting his voice roar; letting the guitar wail and unleash a psychedelic tirade, the band’s hallmarks come back into play- ending the song with a hell of a dose of majesty. With Hendrix-esque shredding, an aural cataclysm is unfurled- a huge bang and mighty wallop. Tender and gentle guitar notes put me in mind of Nick Drake’s Pink Moon: such is the sense of beauty and stillness in the opening moments of On a Boat, On the Water; you cannot help but the imagine the bygone Folk hero. The river goes and “carries us to where it flows“; our hero’s voice is delicate and restrained in the initial moments- after a few seconds, a gorgeous and swelling harmony unfolds; colour, light and immense beauty pours forth. Escaping where no one can find them; it seems like a romance is being ascribed: escaping from the world, the two are alone and travelling the river’s paths- keen to find solace and a sense of safety. I will not mention Pearl Jam and Radiohead too much- until later at least- but I get a great sense of both here: Pearl Jam’s epic and aching moments- think Ten again- sits alongside some of Radiohead’s early work- Fake Plastic Trees, (Nice Dream) and Black Star especially. Caught in the almost gospel proportions of the vocal performance, you transport yourself to that scene: in the openness of the river, you follow our hero as he takes a journey to pastures greener. Backed by superb backing- the guitar work is particularly impressive- it is a perfect way to kick off the album’s second half. As that dreamy vocal harmony sways back in- Jo Clark standing out here- you smile and elicit a pleasured grin: it is the kind of harmony Fleet Foxes would kill for. Having mentioned Nick Drake early, the band bring him back to mind with Fly– it was the title of a song from Bryter Layter. Any notions of introspective mourning are dispelled right off the bat: a pugnacious and determined guitar riff shows the band back in Grunge/Indie territory. The intro. is an insatiable and dizzying line that does not phase our hero- his words have the urgency and passion we would expect from him. Again, it seems that something more positive and loving is showing its heart: asking his sweetheart to “throw a leaf inside of me“; fly away with him, he wants to escape the craziness of gravity- experience something freeing and redemptive. By his love’s side, the two fly into the atmosphere. Early kudos go to the guitar, which manages to rustle up some ’90s memories- Ocean Colour Scene, Radiohead- in addition to displaying a lot of unique flair: Clark’s guitar perfectly illustrates the sensation of flight and to-the-heavens soar. When Jo Clark joins our hero, their tones perfectly blend: stating they are the lucky ones; they will be there for one another when they fall. A delightful two-hander, it seems that a pure and unquestionable love has been discovered- the fire in their hearts is being stoked and ignite. Entangled in a blissful passion, the vocal explodes and rips its clothes off: that animalistic Morrison growl bursts through- taking your breath along with it. The track never rests or can be predicted: it changes course and conjecture; displays a real sense of musicianship and intelligence- reminding me of Steely Dan’s most compelling and detailed tracks. Wordless vocals, determined percussion and dancing guitar- which mutates into a psychedelic beast- gives the song a huge amount of memorability and desire. Once more, Clark unleashes a wild and carnivorous riff in the final moments- concluding one of the finest tracks on Light Waves. The Light That Broke the Waves arrives next. Beginning with a calm and soothed guitar strum- embers of Badly Drawn Boy struck my ear- you are given chance to reflect and cleanse the palate- immersed in a beautiful and tranquil introduction. Standing on broken stones, our hero states that it was “cold but oh-so calm“- instantly you try to imagine the scene that is being presented. As they stare out at the light- that broke the waves- the duo leap into the water. Into the sea, our hero has no fear or worries: the fish let him be and it seems like all will be okay. Suddenly pain radiates through his chest: clutching at his heart, he calls out his sweetheart’s name- he needs to be pulled out of the blue. With the water trying to claim his soul, the heroine needs to rescue the ill-fated hero- backed by some incredibly detailed and memorable compositional touches, a clear mood is set. Having been rescued, the duo throw stones into the water- still cold, at least there is no more danger. As they walk away, it seems once more caution and hazard awaits- the heroine is called upon again. I see the song as a metaphor as such: employing images of drowning as terms for desires and feelings- I may be over-reaching but it seems like there is depth in the deep waters. The addition of horns gives the track an additional layer of beauty- reminding me of some of The Coral’s Magic and Medicine. Taser starts life with a definite sense of adventure and urgency: the guitar weaves and tumbles; instilling some scratchy punctuation, you get a sense of Grunge-cum-’90s Rock in the embryonic stages- the band go on to show just how well they incorporate wit into their music. Showcasing their unique quirks (and funnier side), our hero has received a taser to the back- unsurprisingly it hurt quite a bit. Almost delivered like a love song, the track makes you grin- the taser deserves “more than this.” A terrifically swelling Country-esque rush gives the words additional elevation and purposefulness- with such an original subject being assessed you are entranced by every word. Getting a taser in the head hurts even more- the violent subject does not really how much it has lost. Spellbound by the charm of the track, you get ensconced in the gorgeous vocal harmonies- when the band combine for the chorus, one of the album’s most stirring moments is offered. The final moments stuff a myriad of notes and energy into the song: the group combine magnificently to give the sense of a victim dropping to his knees- the taser has done its damage and our poor hero may well require some urgent medical attention. Again, I wonder whether love is being referred to- if the taser refers to a girl who has a comparable potency. Clark’s deep and fascinating songwriting means the listener will have their own interpretation: whether you go with the literal- or something more love-lorn- it is a terrifically memorable track. Our penultimate track begins with spectral and distant echoes. A delicate acoustic guitar lays in some calm; you prepare your mind for what is forthcoming. It is three in the morning; all our hero can see is gold- in a dream-like state, it is the sweetest one he has ever had. Elongating his vocal, strange and vivid images are released. Talking to a tree, the wise wood advises nightmares are needed- some much-needed sageness is being imparted. Before we can delve too much into our hero’s racing mind, the glorious vocal harmonies return: evoking dreaminess and sleepiness, the sound of The Beach Boys comes in. At this early hour, our hero is walking through his unconscious mind- after the nightmare comes something new; so it is claimed. This girl is in his mind; the passion and urgency rises as our hero tries to expunge her from his thoughts- that emphatic and unforgettable belt reaches heights (even Eddie Vedder could not achieve). Being impressed by Rungapadiachy’s vocals up until this point- a understatment I guess- Comfort showcases him at his near-best. Not only the album’s swan-song, it is another fan favourite- one of the band’s oldest songs. The number’s sapling chords are a symphony of soothe and calm- befitting of the song’s promising title. The vocal is tender and direct: letting those roasted caramel do their work, we see the waves crashing- biting his tongue, our hero wants his girl to comfort him. The song is the most bare-naked and honest thing the band have produced: there is no agenda or twist in the tale; the words here are as passionate and heartfelt as any you will hear- drawing inspirations from the likes of Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Wearing his heart on his sleeve, our hero will not run away: each time he sees his girl he breaks but is determined to make this love work. Augmented by some incredibly elegant backing vocals, you get the sense you are hearing a Folk/Acoustic classic- something that could seduce anyone at any time. Bringing the album to a stirring and haunting end, the wordless vocals- tied to gorgeous harmonies- brings Comfort to an end. The band complete the album with a necessary subtlety and romantic edge- the entire L.P. showcases just how diverse and surprising they are. After hearing Light Wave’s tremendous dozen tracks, you are begging for more…
What can one say about Light Waves– that hasn’t been expounded by some rather illustrious names? Sometimes you get a lingering feeling a band (or act) will make some headway in a few years; occasionally you know they will not make it all- very few lead you to believe they will be huge in next to no time. Over the last couple of weeks, I have assessed some musicians I know are going to be mainstream stars in the coming years- The Moth Lantern definitely fit into that camp. Their album is packed with so much fascination and brilliance it is hard to take it all in- you find yourself repeating songs over and over; addicted by their insatiable quality. With some pretty incredible names already lining up to promote them, I feel a little bit diminutive and meagre by comparison- I hope that my words have done the band full justice. If you are familiar with the band’s influences- and just got into listening with that in mind- you will get a limited listening experience. The best thing you can do is to clear your mind and let the music seep (into an undiluted and open brain). The production and values across the album are tremendous: the songs all come through with clarity and are never cluttered or needlessly over-produced. It is vital that- for a great album to really shine- the production is up to the task; doing justice to the music- on Light Waves you get a rich and unfettered sound that exposes the brilliance of the 12 tracks. Before I close my summing up, I should recommend and pay tribute to the band themselves. The distinct vocal performances throughout make the songs such an exciting and rich proposition. With elements of Grunge legend Eddie Vedder; undertones of Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke- together with that distinctive and unmistakable chocolatey sound- every track across the album is giving a sheen of emotion, passion and masculine pride. Rungapadiachy adds a huge amount of pride, integrity and passion every time he sings. Dan Clark leads the band with a triumphant and emphatic energy. His guitar notes add so much vibrancy, colour and conviction to his songs- marking himself out to be one of the U.K.’s most vital songwriters; he has a style and voice that is unlike anyone I have heard. Compellingly leading his band, Clark lets his song soar, breathe and seduce- by the final stages of the album, you want to hear more from this distinct and tantalising musician. Jo Clark provides a great vocal balance throughout Light Waves: instilled with vulnerability, strength and a gorgeous sweetness, it is an arresting voice indeed. It would be great to hear her upfront and solo on a few numbers in the future: her vocal contributions throughout the album are memorable and augmentative. Capable of so much passion and excitement, it is one of the most impressive things on the album. Clark’s keyboard work infuses beauty, rush and atmosphere in equal measures: capable of summoning up Indie-Rock energy and soulful romance, it adds a huge amount of potency and intrigue- working perfectly with Dan Clark’s guitars. Eddie George ensures that each track is possessed of a pulsing and ever-beating heart: the force and power he brings to the songs cannot be understated. Able to strong-arm and amaze; keep the song tight and focused; allow softness and emotion to resonate- he is a man capable of instilling layers and nuance to every track. Final recommendations- and congratulation- goes to Jason Rungapadiachy (again). His bass work ensures that slinky groove, powerful drive and level-headed integrity are cemented in all of Light Wave’s tracks. Not allowing the spotlight to fall to any of his band mates, Rungapadiachy is the voice of vitality, fascination and dominance: you can clearly hear his strong influence throughout the album. Add some incredibly special vocals into the mix, and you have an exceptional performer- instilling a firestorm of deep and compelling tones; subtext and subtlety; raw passion and stunning allure. It is rare to see a band with so many exceptional and distinct vocalists: when the members combine you get the full extent of their unmatched potential. A lot of groups also have a weak link: someone you could imagine shored up and replaced- there is a measure of expendability in every group. With The Moth Lantern there is that feeling of tenure: nobody is going to leave and every player is an essential facet in the machine. Lesser musicians would not do the material justice: that close understanding and mutual affection bonds the band together; focuses their attentions and power- it is funneled into an album that is an undisputed diamond. As well as containing no weak or lesser tracks, Light Waves provides a lot of food for thought: consisting of so much variability and diversity, it will provide a template for new bands coming through. I have seen too many groups that are afraid to be unique: their E.P.s and albums are the conglomeration of timidity, one-dimensional thinking and copyright infringement- a lot are comfortable being third-rate versions of their favourite acts. The Moth Lantern enforce such an original flair- giving their music such a sharp and terrific edge. Tie this to exceptional songwriting and flawless performances- they are a quartet that will provide much inspiration. As a songwriter myself, I always love the opportunity to find new avenues and directions: Light Waves is so jammed with life and unexpected pleasure, it compelled my mind to race, conspire and write. With so many great acts coming through- over the last couple of weeks I have been spoilt somewhat- you just wonder how this will translate in the future. I worry that too many acts are being overlooked or discovered too late: the word-of-mouth aspect is being subjugated; the most important musicians are not getting equality and due respect- The Moth Lantern have already straddled a killer hurdle. With the backing of some seriously influential music names, it is not going to be long until they are in demand internationally. So few artists make such an impression with their debut album: Light Waves is an impressive example of how things should be done. The band may have to brace themselves for (future) U.S. dates; perhaps a mini tour of Australia…who knows?! Once you hit upon a tremendous sound; put it out into the world- the hope is that it will be disseminated freely and religiously. Let us make sure the Lincolnshire four-piece are promoted and shared as far and wide as possible- they are a young band with a very golden future in their midst.
I hope the band will not object to my loquaciousness and detail: music that compels and inspires is often overlooked or underappreciated- by critics and reviewers- so it is vital that necessary appreciation and insight is provided. The Moth Lantern approached me last week with regards to assessing their music- band member Dan Clark got in contact and wondered if I may like to have a listen. It is great that happened, as I feared I would not have discovered the band otherwise- missing out on something truly remarkable and special. It is clear that I am not the most impressive name (to give praise to the band); perhaps not the most startling review they will ever receive- I am certainly one of the most grateful recipients. Having dedicated my entire life to music and the pursuit of excellence, my mind is always searching for the greatest and most distinct sounds out there: Light Waves is a startling album from a group with an authoritative and confident voice. The band has playing it for a little while now- and released material previously- and they are hitting their stride and high-point- here is their most staggering work; you feel they may even surpass it on future releases. With the likes of Pearl Jam still working away and producing material, I wonder whether we will ever hear anything- come in the future- from Radiohead. Thom Yorke and his men seem to be very tight-lipped and secretive- with regards their careers- but I hope the Oxford band will be back- The Moth Lantern keep the torch very much alive and burning. Those widescreen, cinematic and inspiring Rock templates are never going to go out of fashion; the experimental mix of fun, moodiness and quirkiness gives their sounds a richness and constant fascination- by the end of Light Waves I was desperate to hear more. The inspired four-piece are touring and playing at the moment; keen to gauge the reaction to their album, they should prepare for some severe and extreme positivity. The album’s 12 tracks provide something for every listener: filled with so much beauty, fascination, strength and mesmerising passion, you get caught up in the rush and atmosphere of a magnificent record. I do hope the quartet have plans for future albums and E.P.s- I know they have just released one but the demand will be there- and show the music world just how strong they are. When they come to London, I will definitely come and see them play: I would imagine the electricity and rush of their live performances is not something to be missed. There is a clear passion and closeness between each of the four members. Diversity, equality and fun bonds the boys (and girl) of Lincolnshire’s finest act- you sense the close-knit spirit in the music and the conviction of their performances. After The Moth Lantern was released in November, 2012 many critics and reviewers were eager to elevate and proffer the band: the E.P.’s four tracks (which appear on Light Waves) struck a chord and hit hard- magnitudes were seduced by the band’s eccentricities, melodies, original sounds and wonderful performances. With vocal performances that border on genius; compositions that haunt the mind and obsess your waking hours- songs which inspire the creative mind- the band are going to be a massive name to watch. It would not be a stretch to say they could headline Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds and Camden Rocks in years to come- if you capture the ear of national stations this early on, it is pretty much a sure-fire guarantee. So much amazing energy and colour comes through in their songs; they have a multifarious and variegated band colour scheme and set design- this not only puts you in a better mood, but stands them out from the crowd. So many new bands come across as distant and boring: bereft of distinction and personality, it is wonderful to come across a group like The Moth Lantern. I shall end my review with one final point: band relationships. Too many groups break-up and fragment due to differences of opinions; musical fall-outs and personalities clashes- meaning the world misses out on some terrific music. With The Moth Lantern, you hear and feel a solidity that is unbreakable. With Jo Clark provide stunning beauty, chic charm and impassioned keys and vocals- the band has an alluring and striking player on board. Throw in Jason Rungapadiachy immense vocal contributions, stunning bass work- and hard to spell surname- and that backbone and spine is fully in tact. Eddie George’s percussion work adds primal urges- when the mood turns more Grunge- and scintillating emotion (when unveiling Indie/Rock epics). Able to instill a myriad of passion and urgency, his stick work is deeply impressive. Dan Clark’s stunning words and nuanced songs are only equalled by his frontman leadership- the shred of his guitar; the beauty and potency he adds to each song- few leaders have such a range of talents and clear abilities. Watch out for this intrepid quartet very closely: the next year is going to see them rise to prominence and glory- I would expect a place on BBC‘s ‘Ones to Watch’ poll (in addition to some seriouis airplay). Their music attracts you like a flame attracts a…well, a moth. Unlike the foreboding and Gregorian danger of fire; their warm and embracing lantern is designed to guide, welcome and comfort. In a climate where we all desire these quintessential qualities; embrace a band that want to join them in their noble quest…
DO not be afraid.
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