Moaning – Moaning (4 stars)

Moaning – Moaning

Out Fri 2 Mar on Sub Pop

Post-punk with a melancholy edge

Sub Pop isn't the kind of label that makes mistakes when it comes to new signings. So when they took on LA post-punk trio Moaning towards the end of last year, they sealed the band's fate in a way, foreshadowing where they could be heading like a harbinger of good (musical) fortune. For many, 'The Same' was the first taste of the band's fuzz-soaked slacker pop aesthetic, and among the 10 tracks of their upcoming self-titled debut, it radiates a slinky yet bleak dynamic, remaining a true embodiment of Moaning's unbridled punk energy. It be may the highlight of the album, but other tracks, like shoegazey lead single 'Artificial' with its angular guitar lines and synth soaked choruses, certainly come close to matching the angst of the band's earlier frenetic arrangements.

Album opener 'Don't Go' offers a gritty introduction to Sean Solomon's deadpan, brooding tone, with hints of Joy Division poking through in the abrasive soundscape. Then there's the more wistful and hazy numbers like 'Tired' and 'For Now', which draw out the band's musicality and 'Useless', where everything is stripped down and rebuilt again in crescendos. There's a particular affinity between the instruments at certain moments, for example on penultimate track 'Misheard', where guitar, bass and syncopated drums feel effortlessly woven together and also on the album's finale, 'Somewhere in There'. It's ultimately an album that begins as it ends; trailing off into a nothingness of satisfying distortion and feedback.

The album by no means signifies a whole or absolute product; Moaning have some way to go to refine the balance between Solomon's detached and strangely affecting vocal delivery and the warbling washes of guitar, bass and drums. But their debut is hugely promising, holding tightly onto their DIY swagger while pushing ahead towards something even more intense, experimental and naturally awash with noise.

Out Fri 2 Mar on Sub Pop.

Moaning, by MOANING