Moon Duo - Occult Architecture Vol.1 (Sacred Bones)

Space rock voyagers return with colossal fifth LP

Released Feb 3rd, 2017 via Sacred Bones / By Allan Judkins
Moon Duo - Occult Architecture Vol.1 (Sacred Bones) Now becoming stalwarts of the psychedelic realms, this is the first half of Portland outfit Moon Duo’s fourth album. Whether released at the same time or in sequence, double albums often tend to be a gamble. However, stick in a concept (helps if it’s occult related) and we’re on to a winner. As stated from the horse’s mouth, this half in question takes the form of The Yin. The Dark Energy. The Winter. After an initial listen through, it’s already fair to say that said symbolism has been well achieved.

There are seven tracks - concluded by White Rose fading behind an unforgiving Siberian-type blizzard after ten and a half minutes of surprisingly jaunty sounds (by Moon Duo standards at least). Preceding all of this is a relentless wave of expressive and conscious performance that deserves utmost respect.

For the unwitting Moon babies out there, the two comprise of guitarist Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada on keyboards. Both of whom also sing, and they collectively create a monster made up of psychedelia, rock, electronica, pop, and glam in places, let it be reckoned! Vital components excluding the aforementioned include punchy electric drum noises, Stranger Things sounding synths, plump drones, loops that last a whole song length, and a hysteria of magnificent swirling effects that help stamp the band’s imprint.

The Death Set kicks off the supposedly bleak adventure with a notably stoner-esque riff – perhaps reminiscent of the early Tame Impala hit Half Full Glass Of Wine. Following it is the single Cold Fear, full of terrifying low-driven synth lines and frequently haunted by sinister vocoded verses. A perfect companion for the journey through the shady and merciless mist. Cross-Town Fade and Will Of The Devil are absolute blinders and still stand out more than others once the album starts to grow stronger with each listen.

Having never experienced the MD live show (one has been informed that it’s powerful and tremendously loud – let that set in for your volume suggestions if listening), it seems that it may be trickier to digest the overall vibe of the music on home speakers alone. There’s perhaps less chance of it wrapping its filthy tentacles around you and swallowing you whole, but if heavy repetition over an average seven minutes per song has its firm place in the taste palette already, then it’s bound to sit perfectly and rattle the ol’ ribcage.