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Hello Moth - Slave In A Stone album review

Other-wordly songs from one man and his Casio

This self-styled “haunting orchestra of one” from Calgary in Canada’s frozen north can sometimes sound like the work of a man snowed into his bedroom for a little too long. But on further listens, the melodic layers open up.

Hello Moth claims to “combine pop sensibilities with unearthly sounds and intriguing musicality in songs that surprise and charm listeners”. But there’s a yearning quality to his vocal style that’s redolent of artists such as The Postal Service, and which lends heart and soul to that most cold and austere of instruments, the Casio VL-1. There’s also an unsettling edge to his arrangements, such as the way the keyboard tracks dovetail in and out of one another on A Song About Transience. The amateurishness of the keyboard intros sound unnerving, as if you’re hearing some madman’s bedsit ditties, but they’re built on to make a deeper sound that sometimes wanders into intriguingly odd territory: the monastic chants of ‘Gloria, Gloria’ on Always Done sound like monks having a midnight rave, and I Prayed is punctuated by tribal drums and we’re informed, ‘I prayed until I broke my knees, the joint exploded like a war.’ We’ll take your word for it…