Man of Moon release debut album, ‘Dark Sea’

Scottish two-piece, Man of Moon, have today released their debut album, ‘Dark Sea‘ and the psychedelic influenced rock duo have knocked it out the park.

Several years ago I stumbled upon Man of Moon whilst attending a We Were Promised Jetpacks gig in Aberdeen. The duo, made up of frontman, Chris Bainbridge and drummer, Michael Reid, have since honed their musical talents and produced a wonderful first record.

If you’ve had the good fortune of seeing Man of Moon in recent years then you should recognise some of these tracks and that makes this release all the more enjoyable. In the words of Bainbridge, “What you’re about to hear, are songs. They speak of days of dark sea and what they’ve done to me.”

Those words are the chilling opening lines of this powerful record. The chills quickly disappear as the album’s opening track, “Intro” suddenly gets very loud with a thundering guitar and aggressive drums.

In this three minute opener, Man of Moon give you a very good insight into what they’re all about – electronic orientated backdrops, moments of calm followed by walls of noise and impressive lyrics that give you something to think about.

The intro leads nicely into one of the band’s oldest tracks, “The Road (Dark Sea Version)” which has been built upon from its 2015 release. The most noticeable difference between the two is the pace of either track, with the most recent update marching to a swifter beat.

However, that’s just one of the changes though as the album version of this track has a lot more ooooomph about it as well as being more than a minute and a half longer. The album time has this track as 5m.34s but it feels like one of those songs which they could play for 15 minutes as they close out a show.

Strangers” is a recent release which the band have previously used to close out live shows as it’s one that really gets the crowd going.

It’s got a bumping bass, some fantastic electronic elements and a catchy cow bell. This is not the kind of song that you’d expect on a debut record because of its experimental nature but there’s no denying that this track is a winner.

The duo demonstrate their versatility as they go from upbeat dance-rock on “Strangers” to a grittier sound on the more thought-provoking “Silver Linings.” The track (misspelt on Spotify) is one of the album’s standouts. It opens on a poignant guitar before Reid’s drums come bounding in alongside Bainbridge’s whamming guitar.

If you enjoy great indie rock then this is a track for you. It has glorious guitar riffs, solid vocals and a nice breakdown towards the end which give the song an extra element. It goes from a very loud track to something quite calming with a quieter guitar and drums before the louder sound re-enters alongside some electronic influenced sounds.

Man of Moon keep you guessing as they go from loud to an interlude which once again doesn’t scream, “first album.” Normally we look to interludes as fillers with perhaps less meaning to the fans and more to the bands. That’s not the case here.

The track opens on the distorted words of deceased US astronaut, Gordon Cooper, who says, “This is a new and strange environment at first, suddenly finding yourself in orbit.” These words are eventually met by a guitar that wouldn’t sound out of place in the American frontier.

This sound gradually builds before Bainbridge announces himself with some reverberated vocals. It’s another track that has brought Man of Moon crowds to a deathly silence before enveloping them in a wall of noise during live shows. At 3m. 56s this track becomes a much louder prospect and be warned, it will wake up your neighbours.

The interlude acts as a segue into the second half of the album which most certainly has a heavier rock feel to it. It kicks off with, “When We Were Young” which has elements of Scottish instrumental heroes, Mogwai, about it. This is a gritty but graceful number with Bainbridge’s vocals perfectly matching the ominous sound on this track.

The slower tempo on, “When We Were Young” is quickly forgotten on, “Black Snow” which almost has a country feel to it as Man of Moon once again display their ability to incorporate varied genres into their own unique sound. Is there anything they can’t do?

The album enters the final stretch with two previously released tracks, “Ride the Waves” and “Rust.” “Ride the Waves” is a full frontal rock effort with a heavy bass and a trippy electronic ending whilst, “Rust” is probably the album’s most meaningful sounding song.

It opens on a guitar that quite simply just makes you think before Bainbridge sings vocals, “Change is dripping off of us. I can’t be left alone, I’m tripping over time again.” These vocals and sound display a maturity that is not normally associated with newness and that’s what make this band so exciting.

Rust” continues with a similar vigour before becoming more and more upbeat and exciting in a climax that leaves you wanting more. The record closes out on the slow burning, “Coming Back” which enables Man of Moon to play their final card with a slow but surprising track.

It perhaps demonstrates what this duo can do. In four minutes they build up a track with slow vocals, instruments and sounds but you just have that inkling that something else is coming. That “something else” becomes apparent in the end as a loud snare drum and more prevalent guitar dominate the end of the track.

Man of Moon have delivered a phenomenal debut album and this should bring them a much wider audience. You can buy, ‘Dark Sea’ here.

Scottish artist, Fiskur, release impressive debut album, ‘Cold Hands, Burn Slow’

Scottish outfit, Fiskur, recently released their debut album, ‘Cold Hands, Burn Slow’ and it’s a fantastic record from start to finish. Come check out the album with us.

Fiskur is compiled of former Three Blind Wolves frontman, Ross Clark and Frightened Rabbit’s, Andy Monaghan. Clark is the focal point for the music whilst Monaghan delivers sublime production that take this record to the next level.

The album opens on single, ‘You Know Me So Well‘ which nicely introduces new listeners to Fiskur’s sound. It’s a slower paced song with poignant vocals, a prominent beat and some exciting electronic elements.

The way that Clark delivers his vocals is akin to that of a detailed storyteller which brings the song to life. The various electronic based drums on this are a solid background for this delivery and as the song progresses the musical talent only expands. The highlight comes when the song breaks down (2m.47s) on the line:

“Staring out, standing on foreign towers.”

A trippy electronic element enters alongside these vocals and continues as Clark delivers this verse. There is a haunting synthetic sound that subtly reinforces the lyrics before it breaks out into something louder that includes the full ensemble that has been built up throughout the track.

Too Slow, Too Far” is one of the more uptempo tracks on this album but it does not deviate from this interesting sound that Clark and Monaghan seem to have cultivated. There’s a constant theme throughout this album of solid indie rock music coupled with delicious electronic elements.

This is well demonstrated on “Too Slow, Too Far,” particularly during the first 90 seconds in which a gradually higher pitched musical element adds some subtle brilliance to Clark’s lyrics. It then transcends into a more conventional indie rock song before once again introducing stronger electronic elements as it closes out.

I Become Silver” is an interesting song on first listening. It’s very quick to the punch but the more you listen to it the more you appreciate the early introduction of the first chorus. The song gradually builds up to something bigger as Clark gets louder on the closing vocals of, “It’s you, It’s you that I’m running to.

These tracks are all solid singles that will do more than enough to keep new listeners enticed and have fans excited about what’s to come on the rest of the album. The record continues with “Raven” and “Silhouette” which are nice tracks but are as close as we come to “growers” on this record as the more you listen the better they get.

On “Raven” there is a calming moment before a beautiful vocal ending whilst on “Silhouette” there is gorgeous guitar to accompany a more conventional rock song. These tracks set the record up nicely for a strong finish, starting with another single, “Servant.”

The opening of this track always makes me think of two things; Rick Springfield’s hit, “Jessie’s Girl” and some of the music that features in Big Country’s soundtrack for Scottish film, “Restless Natives.

However, Clark’s lyrics quickly dissolve those thoughts and make this song it’s own exciting entity. “Servant” seems to tell the story of someone breaking free and that theme is reinforced by a positive instrumental and a thumping beat that will get you moving.

Emerger” brings us back down from that high with a slower tempo. The track has some chilling backing vocals, a smooth saxophone and some computer-esque sounds that fit seamlessly into this track despite their absence until late on in the track.

Cold Hands, Burn Slow‘ enters its home stretch with, the belter that is, “Blank Revival.” A gorgeous guitar opens this track alongside some haunting electronics and a lo-fi influenced whirring that culminate to make something brilliant.

Similar to other songs on this album, the track gradually gets louder whilst including more instrumental elements, with the saxophone providing one of the main backdrops to Clark’s vocals.

Klinkhammer“, another single, has a similar vibe with a calm beginning before an exciting finish. The highlight on this track comes at 2m.34s when Clark opens up his lungs and really captures the listener. A sexy saxophone joins the party and adds even more enthusiasm to these vocals.

Fiskur save the best for last with the album’s closing track, “Death Pact.” This a sombre song but one that is full of beauty. A defeated guitar opens the song before ominous synths are accompanied by the cold-hearted lyrical opening:

“Just like the window in your eye, a drop of rain falls down and dies.”

There is an uplifting shift in the vocals for the chorus but the sad nature is still prevalent as a disturbingly distorted instrumental element is introduced. A beat accompanies Clark on the second verse to give the track more thrust but thankfully it doesn’t overwhelm the vocals.

The song hits a climactic point in which the vocals get louder alongside this beat before it quietens down to just a chilling guitar at 3m.22s – a moment that is the highlight of the record. The beat returns and joins the chilling guitar as Clark’s lyrics are backed up by what feel like screams or subtle cries for help in the backdrop.

This is a solid debut from Fiskur and we’re looking forward to hearing much more from them. You can buy, ‘Cold Hands, Burn Slow’ here.