Moon King – ‘Secret Life’

Review by Kieran Blake

Moon King begins Secret Life with “Roswell”, the longest song on the album; an epic swirl of unrelenting drums and pulsing synths.  The carefree tone set within the first minute of the song quickly shifts as cracks of thunderous fuzz start to flood the tune and Moon King’s vocals ring out “No feeling without feeling”.  It’s a driving song more fit for a drive to the terminal ward than a summer roadtrip; not to say that it’s depressing or even dramatic, but there’s a sense of numb sad nostalgia, with pangs of pain faintly below the surface.

The title track of the album follows with whispers over jangly plucks of guitar, the soft vocals telling of a “Secret Life” as jazzy drums build and fall without climax.  As chugging acoustic strokes of “Impossible” drive toward a thick wall of crunchy guitar, the tone of the album begins to fully form.

The calm throbbing of “Come Back” is exploded by “Hexe”, an anthemic and fed-up break-up song full of Jane’s Addiction-esque shouts and loud distorted guitar that injects some urgency back into the album.  Manic drumming in this candy-coated jungle helps bring out a new colour of Moon King, asking “Why’d I waste my time and breath? You’re a face that I’ll forget”.

With an almost Amen Break style drum beat, “Threads” hums along and brings us to “Apocalypse”.  As if Moon King is singing and building on a skipping Sonic Youth record that speeds and slows, the intensity of Apocalypse builds into a explosive release of frenzied fuzz.

“Golden Age” captures a perfect mixture of all the tones and styles of the album; dancy but heavy, nostalgic but hopeful, poppy but bizarre.  A fitting end to the album as we know it.

A sparse and echoey acoustic tune “Medicine” follows and ends the record.  “You can’t escape the feeling that this isn’t right,” the Moon King laments.  Not tacked as an afterthought, but as an echo or a reflection, it wanders and meanders.  A perfect addendum to digest the frantic intensity of the album that it trails.