Having claimed that 2012’s Zeros was to be his last as a solo artist, it had to be a drastic change of life that made Luis Vasquez go back on his word. His cathartic move to Italy in 2013 sparked a change of pace and introspection that culminated in The Soft Moon’s third album Deeper, one which Vasquez claims to be his most emotional to date.
Working closely with producer Maurizio Baggio led Vasquez away from merely experimenting with the soundscapes of past, instead encouraging the musician to put more focus into the songwriting itself. It is apparent from the outset, with a surprising number of songs leaning towards murky ’80s-infused pop; the dance inclined ‘Far’ is as fast as it is sinewy, whilst ‘Feel’ too, could have easily been plucked from that era.
This is The Soft Moon however, and any immediate impressions of the loosening of intent can be rapidly shunned. If an industrial pop song that questions small banalities such as “Why are we alive?” is any indication, then what surrounds it touches on darker aspects. The foreboding throb of recent single ‘Black’ makes for a suffocating experience, the tinny percussion and Vasquez’ hushed utterances twisting the tension as the minutes tick by. The slow and eerie ‘Wasting’ is akin to an industrial-infused ballad, whilst the mournful piano intro of ‘Without’ touches upon loneliness.
The making of Deeper had Vasquez drawing from his most personal experiences. Opting to recoil into perpetual solitude led him down a path of unveiling his vulnerability and his attempts to heal. ‘Try’ is sonically representative of a methodical descent into a dark place, with Vasquez wrestling his suicidal machinations, whilst the pulsating precision of ‘Desertion’ similarly suggests inner turmoil, the jarring synth grating uncomfortably.
As is apt of any any title track, ‘Deeper’ itself is challenging in the menagerie of nosies it crams into four minutes, itself being the embodiment of everything that is required of an industrial track, whilst on ‘Being’, the squirm of a looping tape gives way to surprisingly poppy synths.
With Deeper, Vasquez has created The Soft Moon’s most accessible record to date, and is all the better for it. Pop, in all its sentimentalities, is nothing to be ashamed about, and as such, there is a lot of fun to be had in Deeper. That said, just when you presumed all prior industrial panache had slipped away, a three minute ending comprised of static and white noise would be the only thing that was fitting, right?
Deeper is released on 30th March via Captured Tracks.