Album: Please Rewind
Label: Tru Thoughts
Quality: FLAC (tracks+.cue)
- All the Joy (3:38)
- The Truth (3:40)
- Don't Wake Me (4:43)
- Nobody (3:53)
- More Than Ever (3:57)
- Just a Minute (2:58)
- Winter Breeze (3:54)
- I'll Make It Easy (4:13)
- Please Rewind (Interlude) (0:25)
- Moonlight (3:33)
Music is a frequent inducer of synesthesia, where one physical sense is activated while another is stimulated. We often visualize different images while listening to music. The Los Angeles-based Moonchild – through name and sound – incite an image of a group of trees extending over a row of rooftops in a city, majestically blowing in the breeze, exhibiting their beauty and embodying the marriage of nature with urbanity. Moonchild achieves this conceptual blend in its second album Please Rewind.
Through its 10-track program, Please Rewind reflects the efforts of a group that skillfully balances influences from the natural environment and the seasons with undeniable hip hop sensibility. With these elements, supported by sophisticated compositions, top-notch musicianship, and tasteful production, Max Bryk, Andris Mattson, and Amber Navran have crafted an album that would be equally well suited for an audience of head-nodders at the club as it would for an introspective Sunday afternoon.
Moonchild greatly succeeds at creating challenging music that is easy for the listener. The album opener “All the Joy,” with its angular melody that is doubled on piano, might have the catchiest hook on the album. In it Navran sings, “Like a melody you came to me / carried softly by a breath of spring.” Not only does this highlight the frequent reference to the seasons on the record, it underscores the seeming ease with which the band goes through the creative process, even though their music is technically complex.
Other tracks to note include “Don’t Wake Me,” which sounds like it could have been an alternate track on Erykah Badu’s Mama’s Gun. Navran’s vocal inflections and delivery reflect a singer with a strong musical identity who also respects the masters. Bryk and Mattson’s instrumentals on the track exhibit a masterful execution of restraint and expression of emotion. “Winter Breeze,” with its allusions to the seasons, groove-infused chorus, steamy string arrangement, and discreet but soulful horns, sounds like something only Moonchild could create. “I’ll Make It Easy” is notable because it sounds like it almost wants to be a full-out funk song in the style of Prince or James Brown with its syncopated accompaniment and punchy horn lines, but it still holds back in the Moonchild tradition, anchored by Navran’s smooth, soft vocal delivery.
The album is capped off with the instrumental, “Moonlight,” a lush, harmonically complex piece that acts as a meditation of the album’s themes. Even though it follows the interlude track that shares the album name, this song feels like the invitation for the listener to rewind her- or himself, to rethink our ideas on love and our place in the universe – or at the very least to rewind the album to get back to that hook on “All The Joy.”
Moonchild has the right combination of stellar musicianship, melodic and lyrical accessibility, and polished production to cultivate the sound of a group on the rise. Bryk, Mattson, and Navran exhibit the technical prowess of seasoned veterans while still sounding like they are just getting started. Please Rewind is an exhibition of Moonchild’s natural sound, underscored by a sea of complexity.