The densely assembled grim theatre that is The Soft Moon has subtly refined since the artist’s debut 2 years ago, to bring second and last solo full-length, Zeros. Like releases previous, Zeros swamps about heavily in a goth industrial synth noise reverence paying homage to the greats – Souxie, Joy Division, Cold Cave, Kraftwerk, Cure. Brainchild Luis Vasquez wears his influences like military stripes. Despite this, the album does lack an overall responsive element. Instead you find yourself purposelessly existing alongside the detached and despondent sounds, rather than engaging in them or Romanticizing over them. I think the production could be tighter. Let me put it this way: the affair was enjoyable, even energetic – but damn it, I want to be wooed like I’m impossible to please. Yes, I want that much effort.
The regular motorik rhythms captivate me at times and for those few seconds/minutes I perk up. Still, the overall composition of each track has me second-guessing at some point. One letdown is that the vocal work seems very unsure of itself. I hear this throughout the entire album. Vox are deeply mixed in, giving a certain mysterious quality (if only they were not so staged). Vasquez needs to reach deeper into the psyche. If vox are to reflect a gothgaze intended guise, then they must find much more inner strength or at the very least, opinion/point of view. I’m looking at you title track. The album does seem somewhat unfinished or more specifically, not drawn to its final conclusions. This is not necessarily a bad thing – it leaves The Soft Moon open to greatness with an above average start. Personally I might guess that Vasquez has hit a point in his life where he is simply not challenged enough.
Perhaps recording with a band will iron out the hollowness. Right now The Soft Moon is a semblance rather than any kind of real force. However I predict this will change over future releases. Zeros is good. The odd track is even kiiind of awesome. Just nothing quite gets nailed. Pull back on the effects and pump in more angst, heart or soul (or a mixture). Basically: more authenticity. The Soft Moon will do just fine. The next album is the one to watch for. Still, this one is a necessary progression and still holds plenty of relevance for all artists and followers of the genre.