Photo Credit: Julie Bonato
On record, The Soft Moon serves as Luis Vasquez's solo outlet, wherein he clinically fuses Joy Division's frozen sonics with austere goth visions. The grimly claustrophobic atmosphere is punctuated by urgent synths and drum machines seemingly hijacked from Martin Rev himself.
Released only a couple years ago, The Soft Moon's self-titled debut featured bare-bones production that evoked the haunted corners of pitch-black rooms. The debut bolstered the '80s-veined renaissance the still-young Captured Tracks was spearheading, while also cementing The Soft Moon as a vicious force to be reckoned with. While Vasquez's labelmates Beach Fossils and Wild Nothing reveled in gleeful-bummer pop that you can dance and sing along to, his was inward-facing music that found beauty in darkness: songs for loners.
Vasquez recently returned with Zeros, a logical step that refines the starkly gorgeous aura of the band’s debut. At 10 songs, and barely more than 30 minutes long, Zeros leaves no room for filler; the result is pure, gothic joy. Songs like “Insides” and “Crush” channel The Cure’s holy trilogy, balancing introverted tendencies with raucous post-new wave.
Fleshed out as a live entity, The Soft Moon’s ghastly transmissions are taken deeper into the anxious territory once charted by Chrome and The Units. Vasquez’s songs bleed into one another in an overlapping squall of noise and feedback rivaled only by A Place to Bury Strangers.
The unrelenting pummel that is the rhythm section for tracks like “Die Life” and “Machines” serves up a mechanical beat that obliterates as much as it grooves. These songs are destined to be experienced in a dark, packed, basement-like space like the Caledonia Lounge.