Starting from zero can either be a beginning or an end. The latest release from San Francisco psych-drone wonder Luis Vasquez, better known as The Soft Moon, straddles the duality with his sophomore album, Zeros. Yet Vasquez leans toward the latter, with Zeros building a succinct homage to the curious notion of decay, leaving grime to accumulate underneath fingernails and a score to the corrupt, blind city as a backdrop to it all.
Post-punk is alive, well, and throbbing with anxiety in Zeros. The tension pulsating underneath drones and a sort of paranoid, frenetic noise immediately harkens the listener back to the entrancing appeal of Joy Division. Ian Curtis comparisons aside, Vasquez most certainly displays a keen sensibility for crafting eerie wastelands with swells of synthesizers and spine-jolting yelps.
Shrouded in darkness from the beginning, Zeros resounds with its ability to create an emotive, queasy response. It Ends tears the album open into a creature breathing pure black. The jittery, nightmarish “Machines” raises hairs on the neck, while the exasperated cries distant in the monochromatic The Soft Moon // Die Life will have your mind rushing somewhere shadowy and fervent, driven simultaneously by tense drums and noise-laden un-sounds, frenzied tribal drumming, and shrieks.
As with The Soft Moon’s self-titled debut, Zeros harnesses claustrophobia whole through a series of detached musings, smothering the listener with an atmospheric soundtrack of delusion. Not quite accessible to the unsuspecting ears, Zeros appeals in that inexplicable, morose way, propelled by a certain pleasure entwined with the chaos of the uncertain.
Essential Tracks: “Machines”, “Crush”