Last year, avant-pop outfit Ava Luna made our list of Most Anticipated Albums of 2018. With their back catalog of diverse tracks across multiple LPs, the Brooklyn-based quintet were poised to create something great and boundary pushing. Their latest record, Moon 2, exceeds expectations, and it is one of the year’s most unique and captivating records.
Moon 2 starts out with a strange and immense intro, as distorted voices and sounds welcome the listener. Ava Luna, though, begin to hit their stride on “Centerline”. It’s groovy as heck with a backbone reminiscent of some of the most memorable Talking Heads’ tunes. The band then head into dreamy landscapes with the incredible “Childish”, which features a stunning vocal arrangement.
One thing that any listener will notice is how the drums drive Moon 2 into orbit. There’s a run of tracks – “Mine”, “Moon 2”, and “Deli Run” – that feature some truly amazing percussion. Intricate beats, including some electronics, take these songs to big places. In addition, “Mine” features a great groove with some playful vocals while the title track lays back on a slick bass line. Felicia Douglass, meanwhile, powerfully sings “Deli Run”, sending it beyond the solar system.
A lot of the quirky and experimental elements that makes Moon 2 amazing comes together in “Set It Off”. The simple keyboards, the drums, and the infectious vocals make it stand out on the record. The next two tracks, “Walking With An Enemy” and “Unless”, go into a futuristic synth space that helps the LP’s back side ease into the closing moments. Those moments including the absolutely stunning “On Its Side the Fallen”, on which Becca Kauffman’s ethereal vocal performance brilliantly complements the immense wall of sound that builds at its conclusion.
Most of the members of Ava Luna have undertaken solo or side projects since the band’s last two recordings, Infinite House and a full record cover of Serge Gainsbourg’s Histoire de Melody Nelson. They have been busy, and it shows on Moon 2. Their latest record is crafted in a way that ensure each track has its own space, where it can either levitate or shoot into the far reaches of our imagination. It’s strange when it can be, but it’s always captivating. And when it comes to a close, the result is a record that is simply mind-blowing. On Moon 2, Ava Luna have absolutely created a space-aged masterpiece.
Ava Luna are Carlos Hernandez (vocals/guitar), Becca Kauffman (vocals/keyboard/guitar), Felicia Douglass (keyboard/vocals), Ethan Bassford (bass), and Julian Fader (drums).
Moon 2 is out now on Western Vinyl, and it is also available on Bandcamp.
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