MAN OF MOON - Dark Sea - 2020 | ALBUM REVIEW
Updated: Dec 24, 2020
Label: Cosmic Pool
by Derek Howie
“Dark Sea" is the title of the long-awaited debut album from Edinburgh duo, Man of Moon. It’s been so long; it’s taken nearly half a decade to surface.
“What you’re about to hear are songs. They speak of days of dark sea, and what they’ve done to me. My hand goes numb when I punched the door, I just need more. And that you give me, I hope you hit me and knock me out, kill this town”
This overcast and foreboding quote is from Chris Bainbridge (Lead Vocals & Guitarist) on the album opener “Intro” which lays the foundations for a bleak and powerful rendition of times on the coast of Scotland. A newly re-recorded version of their first 7” Single “The Road”, helps fit this earlier material into the new and heavier Psychedelic Rock sound of the album. I can’t go any further without mentioning the other half of the duo, Mikey Reid (Drums & Backing Vocals), whose balance on the Drum stool, Microphone, and Electronics helps barrel the project along.
Chris Bainbridge, photo by Derek Howie
Mikey Reid, photo by Derek Howie
A perfect example of the deep, powerful, but simplistic nature of the group’s sound is the often-used switch from a 6-string Guitar to a 4-string Bass for individual tracks. This happens on my personal favourite “Strangers”, that soaring Acid-line in the middle adds a nice, surprise element that pricked my ears when I first heard it more than 2 ½ years ago!
The beautifully crafted “Silver Linings” shows their musicianship and songwriting credence, while under pinning the harrowing and frantic depiction. “Interlude” is an interesting piece. Although it feels like a pause and an instinctive halfway point of the Record, yet it grows into a far heavier climax than the mellow and experimental beginnings portray. “Meet me down by the waterside”, is a fitting request to the end of Side-A of “Dark Sea”.
Side-B opens with a brand-new song “When We Were Young”, a reflective perspective, with a sound that even retraces my own youth of the Shoegazing scene of the 1990s. I can also relate heavily to the subsequent “Black Snow”, about wandering aimlessly through the darkening, colder months in Scotland while being intoxicated in one form or another. When twilight descends here at around 4 pm in the afternoon, the world already looks like a strange place! Both of the next 2-songs, “Ride The Waves” and “Rust”, first appeared on the band’s 2019 “Chemicals” EP, a release that received a fair amount of airtime from National broadcasters of BBC Radio 6 Music and BBC Radio Scotland. While the finale to this album “Coming Back” is a light and confident affirmation about regret and a reiteration to not return, I’m pretty certain that things are far from dark and closed for this exciting duo.
“Dark Sea” is available direct from www.manofmoonband.bandcamp.com on Standard Black LP, CD, or multiple Digital formats. The 100-copies, Limited Edition, Grey Marbled vinyl sold out within hours of the activation of the pre-order, but I was lucky enough to bag one and as such got a named credit along with the first 200 fans to pre-order the album.
Words and Photography by Derek Howie
Derek Howie is from Aberdeen in North-East Scotland. Music has been with Derek, and has helped in every facet of his life, creating some very good times and providing an escape during some very bad times! It has also seen him try make it professionally as musician and former D.J. Now it’s just purely pleasure as avid music collector and a blogger on a new venture, audioidua. Derek also enjoys sharing his daily plays on the Facebook group musicisum.