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Music | Review: The Soft Moon @ Whelan’s, Dublin on 19/10/2015

On a nippy Monday evening in Dublin’s Camden St, there are few souls wandering around as the beginning of the working week sends many home for rest. But situated in the warm and intimate surroundings of Whelan’s main room venue is two drum kits, a big Korg synth and pads to the left, and some backline beyond that.

The Korg and drum kit in the middle are that of psychedelic-obscure synth rock outfit TWINKRANES.  An act who make sounds like Bansky designing Gameboy music. A Mario Kart game gone gothic perhaps, with swirly theremin like key shifts and a dose of bass for good measure. A crowd warmer that kept the crowd on their feet before the arrival of the headline act.

Upon their arrival, Luis Vasquez and his touring members walk on casual, unphased, and perhaps a little shocked about the turn out for their show in Dublin. Why? Well not many people would be aware of the US-based post-punk/cold wave outfit even with three albums to date. Yet that is what makes a half full main room all the better for an act in this position.  Great venue, attentive audience, one of the few you are likely to hear without the incessant chatter that has taken intimate gigs to a more difficult place.  But for now the deep gritty bass pulsating through the walls and floor, stomping kick drum, and mysterious vocal effects for opener ‘Black’.

The set is smashing, intriguing, and intense.  The music is like that cold wave of punk that captivates you because it sounds similar to the icons of the indie scene. ‘When It’s Over’ has that vibe of The Cure meets Joy Division.  If Robert Smith can cover The Twilight Sad, then he should definitely look at The Soft Moon. ‘Far’ is a precedent to ‘Paralells’, another standout, where Vasquez throws his percussive instruments to the side of the stage in a moment of passion that he simply puts as “getting into the song” a bit too much.

‘Into The Depths’ was dropped before the passionate percussive incident, easy to forgot the swirling echoes, deserted synth lines, and electric thump of the drums.  ‘Tiny Spiders’ is excellent, almost as if you had Editors cover Joy Division’s ‘Shadowplay’.

These are songs that stood out in a 15+ song playlist.  It is easy to get lost in the progressive nature of it all, but find yourself a tour date for The Soft Moon with a venue of the same intimacy, and you will find yourself talking about it for weeks after.