Moon Duo – Occult Architecture Vol. 1

Album Review by Jamie Bowman | 27 Jan 2017
  • Moon Duo – Occult Architecture Volume One
Album title: Occult Architecture Vol. 1
Artist: Moon Duo
Label: Sacred Bones Records
Release date: 3 Feb

Since forming Wooden Shjips in 2006, guitarist Ripley Johnson has stuck fast to the principle of 'if it ain't broke, don’t fix it'. Over four albums their minimalist drone rock has dug a languidly compelling groove, with his off-shoot band Moon Duo treading a similar path, albeit with more synths.

Occult Architecture... continues the duo’s trip in similar style, trailing itself as the first part of a pair of albums based on the Chinese theory of Yin and Yang with this initial volume reflecting the band’s darker qualities and Johnson’s growing interest in the occult.

As a result the woozy warmth of his Wooden Shjips work is replaced with the harsher, colder realities of post-punk and a throbbing electro pulse that recalls the tightly wound simplicity of Suicide, the uneasy horror soundscapes of John Carpenter or the no-fi guitar of Chrome.

What is surprising is how this darker direction unearths a hitherto unearthed pop sensibility in Moon Duo with songs like White Rose and Will of the Devil recalling the gothic melodies of Siouxsie and the Banshees or The Cure at their gloomy best while Creepin’ skips along like something off The Strokes’ first album.

Occult Architecture Vol. 2, set to be released in the spring, promises to explore Moon Duo’s brighter side but if ...Vol. 1’s brilliance is anything to go by, Johnson shouldn’t flick the light switch just yet.