It wasn't too terribly long ago that I was trying to stifle a few giggles when reviewing the last album from Moon Duo. That album seemed drenched in a sort of bullshit doom-and-gloom vibe that felt totally affected. On the band's follow-up, Sacred Architecture Vol. 2, out on today on Sacred Bones Records, the band seems more in control of the material and less prone to turning this sort of thing into a kind of half-assed stab at Non-level nonsense.
Now, I like genuinely extreme music and my big problem with the last album from Moon Duo was that the attitude felt fake and forced. At least now the band approach these cuts with more confidence, and, on opener "New Dawn", a kind of blissful swagger that suggests a combination of Spiritualized and early Stereolab. "Mirror's Edge" is lovely, while "Sevens" nods in the direction of The Dream Syndicate while referencing a bit of old Anita Lane solo stuff at the same time. It's a stretch but the cut works fairly well and I couldn't help but be impressed at how much better Sacred Architecture Vol. 2 was compared to the previous volume. Elsewhere, "Lost In Light" mines a vein of indie similar to some Broadcast sides, while the epic, 10-minute closer "The Crystal World" achieves a fine Kraftwerk-style feel thanks to a deliberate, mid-tempo melodic line that carries the cut forward.
Remarkably more accessible and enjoyable than their previous release, Moon Duo's Sacred Architecture Vol. 2 is, if not entirely original, at least an inspired set of stabs at styles that are difficult to pull off successfully. That Moon Duo make so much of this succeed is something to be applauded.
[Photo: Mehdi Benkler]