Hailing from Belgium is the five-piece dream-pop, post-punk unit Newmoon with Bert Cannaerts (vocals/guitar), Giel Torfs (guitar/backing vocals), Philippe Corthout (guitar), Robby Geybels (bass) and Stef Gouwkens (drums). Prior to Newmoon, the band members previously worked in a hardcore punk band known as Midnight Souls. They broke away from the hardcore genre due to its limitations.
Dream-pop and post-punk have always shared a melodic overlap. You’re more likely to appreciate a dissonant or reverbed chords within those genre than, say, hardcore, indeed. It’s new terrain for Newmoon, as they present themselves into an already dense genre landscape.
A trait that some of the best dream-pop and post-punk records have is a sense of acceleration. A moment where the album leaps forward, finds a sustainable feeling, and rides it out. Unfortunately, Space doesn’t have those moments where you’re hurdling towards a time, place, or feeling. Space establishes mood and atmosphere very well, but the album, as a whole, feels more static than kinetic.
The album’s opener, ‘Helium’, and its lead single, ‘Head of Stone’, establish Newmoon’s sound right from the jump. Combinations of dreamy, intimate tracks with spacier, fuller soundscapes. Tracks like ‘Life in the Sun’, ‘Skin’, ‘Coma’, and ‘Everything Is’ play with this formula using varied chord progressions and riffs, but ultimately sound the same. Oddly, the minute-long instrumental ‘Hi’ does a better job at establishing space and atmosphere than the tracks that precede it. ‘One Thousand’ and the closer ‘Liberate the World’ turn into a 12-minute blur of sameness.
Newmoon has a solid grasp on what the atmospherics should sound like a dream-pop/post-punk hybrid. But there’s not enough texture, acceleration, and variation on Space to make it a standout album. Solid, but hardly memorable.
Space is available on October 14th through PIAS Records.