When musicians take their time to create art, it’s usually a good thing. The problem with the hip hop industry nowadays continues to be pressure rappers face to release music constantly. More artists are becoming concerned about staying relevant, rather than innovative. Lo Moon did the exact opposite of that leading up to their debut project, Lo Moon. Their lack of urgency to release music is kind of what drew me to them in the first place.
The band itself has had an interesting journey to signing with Columbia Records. In a matter of five years, lead singer Matt Lowell went from solo artist trying to find people who can play instruments to a star for a major record company.
All of this was because of Lo Moon’s first single, “Loveless,” which reportedly took Lowell around five years to write. It’s the track that started it all and attracted the other members of the band. The LA natives would ride that song for two years, until the release of their first official studio self-titled record.
“Loveless” is still their best effort to date, even after listening to this album multiple times, with Lowell and company failing to capture that same alluring landscape painted on that track with others. The concept of love is explored in a very loose and unoriginal manner, and the production does little on many songs to make up for it.
There are a couple dreamy spots here and there that make for a gorgeous listening experience, specifically the gold-digging tale Lowell tells on “My Money.” The silly chorus of, “don’t marry me for my money/I got this love for you honey, it’s baby blue,” reminds me of a more laid back version of Kanye’s “Gold Digger.”
While “Camouflage” is pretty skeletal as far as lyrics go, at least layers were added to the overall aesthetic of the instrumentation. There’s a certain desolation attached to the track that leaves me unsettled, but satisfied with what Lo Moon was trying to accomplish. Most of the other cuts lack depth, whether it’s the dry choruses on “This is it” and “The Right Thing,” or the lackluster production on “Tried to Make You my Own,” where the same electronic riffs are shoved into our heads continuously.
This project reminds me of a towering roller coaster ride, one that contains soaring heights, but also disappointing drops. A lot of the romantic themes Lowell tackles feel undeveloped, inklings of a bigger idea. They turn a subject that’s been done so many times into a prolonged epic that suffers from repetitiveness.
Even the depressingly pessimistic “Real Love” has an absence that represents the lowest point on the album for me. Only afterwards does Lo Moon find a way to redeem themselves of their embryonic intentions. The closer track “All In” paints a more optimistic picture of love and redemption, something Chris Martin mastered in his early days before Coldplay turned pop.
Rather than turn me off because of a few dull moments, I found myself wanting to hear more from Lo Moon. This project is definitely listenable, and the potential is there, so I’m still interested in what they might do next. Undeniably, there were moments where Lowell and co. showed quite a bit of potential, especially with the addition of thought-provoking electronic sounds. It’s just that many of these melodies were not fully fleshed out.
Lo Moon understands that staying relevant in their genre is a whole other beast. This is mainly why they took two years to finally release an album five years after delivering one song. While some things didn’t work out this time around, Lo Moon is still worth paying attention to in the indie landscape.