Genre/Influences: Cold-wave, gothic.
Format: Digital, CD.
Background/Info: I can’t remember to have ever heard an underground artist/band hailing from the Isle Of Man. It’s a small isle in between Ireland, England and Scotland. Mark E. Moon defines their music as post-punk. Set up and driven by Mark Sayle and Phil Reynolds, they by the end of 2019 released their official debut opus “Refer”.
Content: “Refer” features 10 songs, which are clearly driven by the dark spirit of 80s cold-wave music. The guitar play is often reminding me of The Sisters Of Mercy while some of the darkest cuts are more in the vein of Bauhaus. The cavernous way of singing only reinforces the link with Andrew Eldritch. The tracks are moving in between slow, emotional pieces and harder cuts. The guitar playing is a prominent aspect of the songwriting, but I also have to say a word about the electronic arrangements, creating a dark, but dreamy touch.
+ + + : This debut album is a true tour de force! The originality is far to find, but the way Mark E. Moon has awakened the good-old 80s spirit of cold-wave and related music genres is phenomenal. The guitar playing is essential and injects this dark and sometimes tormented spirit to the work. It creates great match with the growling vocals’ production. There are multiple noticeable songs on this album, but I have to mention “Hollow Eyes”, “Out in the Dark” and “Abandon” as true references. Another attention grabber is the more emotional “Euphoria”.
– – – : “Refer” is an album without surprises; it might be seen as a truly 80s cold-wave emulation, but it can also be an ode to the glorious days of cold-wave music. Therefore, there’s nothing new here, but you don’t hear me complaining. There’s just the last song (cf. “Strange Fruit”), which is the single piece that couldn’t convince me.
Conclusion: Together with Kill Shelter (Scotland) I consider Mark E. Moon as one of the best surprises the cold-wave music genre has gotten during the past few years. “Refer” is a true masterpiece!
Best songs: “Hollow Eyes”, “Out In The Dark”, “Abandon”, “Euphoria”, “Into The Arms Of Entropy”, “Time Enough For Love”.