Even the most relentlessly happy-go-lucky, starry-eyed optimists must surely spiral into feverish episodes of hand-wringing terror when eyeballing today’s headlines.
Amid a soul-crushing tickertape of violence, genocide, war and intolerance, our species has created a catastrophic new epoch of global unrest; in other words, a perfect moment for a new golden age of psychedelia.
Couched in the shifty-eyed paranoia of the late 60s, psychedelic music emerged as an escapist counterpoint to the world’s suffocating heaviness. Bands like Pink Floyd, Love and The Beatles channelled a trippy new vibe of velvety textures and spacey dynamics to create overtly druggy escapist soundscapes pitched galaxies away from the depressing post-war shitshow back on terra firma. It is into an equally stark world that London’s Dark Moon set foot with their debut, Lost In Love And Fear, an ambitious and wholly captivating headtrip that stands shoulder to shoulder with the finest psych rock outings of the past 10 years.
It’s worth noting that Dark Moon’s frontwoman, sound artist Lola Ulalume, is the daughter of late British punk icon, Joe Strummer. Yet where The Clash sought to roughly dismantle the status quo, Lost In Love And Fear offers a soothing tapestry of psychedelia, electric blues, ambient sound therapy and jazzy experimentalism to conjure a reality-tilting and deeply immersive sensory experience. Anchored by primal rhythms, ritualistic chanting and Ulalume’s soulful howl, tracks like opener Dusty Dreams and the darkly mesmerising Blackbird usher in a hypnotic new realm of sonic mysticism, where silence and echoes replace bluesy string bends as psychedelia’s most familiar guideposts.
Eastern-influenced fare such as Samsara mingle richly evocative elements of sound therapy with cavernous atmospherics and Rainbow Bridge is a transfixing symphony of gongs and Tibetan bowls that, when absorbed through headphones, untethers the listener from earthly notions of time and space, transporting them into a tingly realm of high, blissed-out vibrations. Other tracks like the ethereal Honour mine familiar sounding classic rock structures, using the progressive introduction of guitars and keyboards to underpin Ulalume’s sultry croon. At times poppy and others improvisational, no two tracks sound alike and yet Lost In Love And Fear is both polished and cohesive. Bristling with sugary hooks and warm, soulful melodies, Dark Moon’s debut will inspire, restore and captivate even the most calloused of latter-day pessimists.