It would be almost too easy to compare Moon’s “you snuck me into your darkness” to records like Cigarettes After Sex’s self-titled – that is, simultaneously beautiful and devastating with plenty of hazy vocals and synthesizer. Moon, the solo project of multi-instrumentalist Jack Sipes, is dreamy, melancholy synth-pop, and its debut album feels like heartbreak.
In every track except “Wishing,” Sipes’ vocals are smoky and haunting, crooning about love and loss. When combined with desolate background instrumentals, it’s a little eerie and a little ghostlike. Songs like “Leaving” (“wish I didn’t have to feel like this/sobbing at things I should never be/anxiety emanating through me/I wish to feel nothing”) feel like being stuck in a depressive episode, like being covered in a thick shroud of heartbreak.
Vintage-sounding synth and clear instrumental solos contrast one another, allowing various instruments – guitar, bass, et cetera – to cut through the haze. Often, the other instruments drop away to highlight individuals. The album is fluid, from the ocean sounds in the beginning to the bell-toned palate cleanser of a title track, and the dark fog is occasionally disrupted by those clear, bright solos.
The outlier on the velvety synth-pop album is “Wishing,” although different, in this case, is not bad. Electronic, over-autotuned vocals come across as unsentimental, producing a stark dichotomy between vocals and nostalgic, bittersweet lyrics (“we take each other’s clothes/just to have something to hold/something to help the time pass/just don’t let go”). The track resonates physically as well as emotionally; it’s easy to feel the deep, dark music in your chest, and the saxophone is a nice touch.
At the end of “you snuck me into your darkness,” it feels like you’ve gotten to know a well-kept secret. The moody synth-pop is more like dusk than dawn, and vintage-sounding synth dredges up hidden memories among the fog. It’s more than a little angsty, but it’s very real, and almost painfully so; everything about the album comes together to sound exactly like the feeling of being alone.