This EP was recorded by Moonlands in a barn in battle with their producer. In other words, it’s their second EP. Comprising Lucy Elliott, Joel Brooks, Joel Frosh, Buster Stonham and Ayumi Konno, Moonlands have been hovering on the brink of fame for some time now. Their debut EP Paradise Blue was featured on the BBC’s stalwart programme Introducing London. Their sound is unobtrusive, but infectious. This self-titled 3-track EP is a statement of intent from Moonlands.
The EP starts off with ‘Shake, I Shook’. What is immediately striking is the similarity between Lucy Elliott’s vocal quality and Debbie Harry’s. Later on in the song, she sounded like Cathy Davey in need of a Strepsil. With a type of synth-siren initiating affairs, a stern percussionist (Brooks) stopping the wandering guitar line (Frosh) from tying itself in knots, and enough swampy reverb to make you think it’s coming from another room – this song is an ideal festival belter. The Stone Roses-esque echoing guitar is strident enough to make a statement, but soft enough to exude a sense of nostalgia.
The middle track ‘Islands’ would probably have been better suited to a soundtrack rather than the central song on an already short EP. The vocals were slightly overpowered by the instrumentation, which gave the impression we weren’t supposed to listen to the voice. That said, the intricate guitar melodies are an absolute triumph, but the dreamy, shimmering keyboards (Konno) could easily be the montage of a coming-of-age indie film.
Moonlands have saved the best til last. ‘Trip 35’ is the best and most ambitious track on the EP. Instead of the vocals and instrumentation dimming their respective abilities in service to a song, in ‘Trip 35’ they are asserting their individuality resulting in a bolder and more distinctive harmony. This bass-driven tune lets the hitherto underused Stonham loose to spectacular effect. Confident, assured and sadly too brief, ‘Trip 35’ showcases the best of Moonlands.
Despite being London based, there is a distinct countrified air of suburbia apparent in this record. It’s nostalgic, echoing, and trapped in an eternal summer. It has all the hallmarks of sheltered teenage rebellion – a chainsaw in a pillow factory. Moonlands’ self-titled EP is available now. Give it a listen. It’s a taste of good things to come.