The Moth & The Flame - & EP (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
I KNOW what you’re thinking… any band who calls their EP simply & has to be pretentious, right? Fortunately, The Moth & The Flame have the music to back any such labelling up.
To best describe &‘s sound, try imagining what Snow Patrol might sound like if they were being produced by DJ Shadow or UNKLE or even Beck. It’s that good – gritty with some funk. But big too. These boys could soon be filling stadiums and generating their own comparisons.
The three-piece band, based in LA but originally hailing from Provo in Utah, have an ear for the grand. It’s evident from the very first seconds of lead offering Sorry, which combines a funky, Holmes-worthy bass with some chopping guitars, atmospheric edges and dream-bound, ghostly vocals that set the scene with the recurrent themes of desire and betrayal, sadness and loss.
It’s a pile-driving track in many ways… driven by that classic bass, some snappy beats, intricate layering and those distracting vocals that declare: “Sorry, for everything I’ve done.” As apologies go, it’s a heck of a statement. And they’re forgiven for any discretions we may not know about.
The remainder of the six-track EP, or shall we call it a mini-album, is just as striking. Winsome drops more killer beats and hooks over a moody Bono meets Josh Homme vocal. If you’ve ever heard UNKLE remix acts like Queens of the Stone Age, then this is what the beat arrangements aspire to. And match. It’s kick-ass cool.
There’s a trippy, psychedelic edge to the more deliberately paced The Silver Tongue, which employs tick-tock beats over more compeling guitar hooks and hushed vocals and a big chorus, while Monster comes over all Snow Patrol/Gary Lightbody vocally and once more impresses.
Holy War slows down the tempo quite dramatically for a haunted, even pained (but hugely intelligent) offering that stays with you (despite clocking in at a little over two minutes), before How We Woke Up rounds things off with a solid rock track that, again, has the brooding intensity and beauty of a Snow Patrol offering.
In six songs, The Moth & The Flame don’t really put a foot wrong. It’s a masterful introduction to them and a downright essential purchase if you’re looking to freshen up your library. We couldn’t be much more impressed.
Download picks: Sorry, Winsome, Monster
Watch the Sorry video: