The Soft Moon – Criminal (CD Album – Sacred Bones Records)

By Feb 21,2018

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Genre/Influences: Dark wave, post-punk.

Background/Info: Album number 4 for solo-artist and multi-instrumentalist Luis Vasquez. “Criminal” describes Luis going to war with himself through confession and finds him battling with shame, guilt, his own sanity, self-hatred, insecurity and self-entitlement. He reveals his feelings from his violent childhood which makes it a self-reflective album, released to find relief for his own wrongdoings and for those done by others that have affected him.

Content: “Burn”, the first song, has an amazing bassline and a screaming, almost howling Vasquez, which is definitely something we’re not used to hear on previous albums. “Choke” is a very danceable song full of soft synths with a whispering voice over it. The first 2 songs remind you automatically of the older works of Nine Inch Nails. Time for some moody calm stuff then with “Give Something” followed by the EBM/industrial track “Like A Father”. The deep raw bass on the exploding song “The Pain” sounds amazing, which makes it one of the better songs! The guitars on “It Kills”, a downtempo track, will calm you down in your mind and make you think and dream away. This atmosphere is abruptly broken by “ILL”, that best can be defined as a mixture of dubstep and noise. More soft synths and whispering voices on “Young” followed by the uptempo “Born Into This”. The guitars on “Criminal” are in perfect combination with the synths, which makes it the climax of another typical Soft Moon masterpiece!

+ + + : The basslines are sounding very deep and low, something The Soft Moon still brings very well, also live on stage. Luis Vasquez definitely knows how to write songs full of darkness.

– – – : The tracks “Like A Father” and “ILL” have a deep contrast with the other songs. They are not bad songs but bring the complete atmosphere a bit out of balance.

Conclusion: Eight years already after the release of the self-titled debut-album, and The Soft Moon keeps delivering darkness and melancholy. Vasquez recorded the 10 tracks about his inner pain in his current hometown Berlin and changed like this his personal childhood traumas into something more succesful.

Best songs: “Burn”, “Choke”, “The Pain”, “It Kills”, “Criminal”.

Rate: (9) WH.

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