Toronto duo Moon King have crafted a raw, rapturous and emotional new record, which documents their ascent from an intimate conceptual project into a powerful live band. Secret Life will be released on Last Gang Records worldwide on April 14th.
A first preview of the record comes with the chugging propulsion, soaring harmonies and cosmic haze of album opener ‘Roswell’.
In 2013, Moon King, made up of songwriter Daniel Benjamin and singer/guitarist Maddy Wilde, played over 100 shows to support a pair of EPs, Obsession I and II, which were released on Fucked Up’s One Big Silence label in North America and Tough Love in UK/Europe. After a year spent on the road, it became evident they should capture the energy of their live show while it was fresh. Following a performance at Iceland Airwaves, Daniel & Maddy relocated to a cottage in northern Ontario to record the album with a group of Toronto music scene luminaries, all of whom had played in various incarnations of the live band.
Most of the tracks on the album were recorded live off the floor, with little except the vocals added, put to tape by live sound engineer Noah Giffin (Owen Pallett, Austra, Diana). Though only five days of recording were booked, an ice storm prevented them from leaving, resulting in an extra couple of days work. The record was then mixed in New York with Jacob Portrait of Unknown Mortal Orchestra/Blouse.
The album’s production introduces further nuance to the wall-of-sound approach of the EPs, stripping back dense layers to unearth spellbinding vocals and melodies. Daniel’s lyrics focus on catharsis and the weight of emotional trauma, as well as dealing with the self-doubt that stands in the way of recovery.
Frequent show-opener “Apocalypse” begins with the confession “somehow I feel no release when I’m alone with anyone else / somehow I fall to pieces when I wake up to nothing where you should be” and builds intensity and speed until overflowing in a rush of noise, an oddly structured pop song with no repeating sections. “It’s impossible / you’ve been run through with fear / love’s a landfill / just another burning spear” chants the soaring chorus of ‘Impossible’. The ultimatum at the climax of “Golden Age” – “all I want is to be wanted” channels an honest and tangible fear not common in today’s pop landscape.
This sense of loss and longing permeates the album throughout, each song carrying with it both a weight and a sense of urgency.
Moon King will be touring the UK and Europe with in later January (dates below). Details of their upcoming North American tour will be announced soon.
21.01 – Manchester, UK @ Deaf Institute *
22.01 – Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club *
23.01 – Newcastle, UK @ Think Tank *
24.01 – Glasgow, Scotland @ King Tuts *
26.01 – Nottingham, UK @ The Bodega *
27.01 – Birmingham @ Hare & Hounds *
28.01 – London, UK @ Scala *
30.01 – Oxford, UK @ O2 Academy 2 *
31.01 – Bristol, UK @ Thekla *
02.02 – Antwerp, Belgium @ Trix *
03.02 – Amsterdamn, Netherlands @ Paradiso *
05.02 – Oslo, Norway @ John Dee *
06.02 – Stockholm, Sweden @ Debaser Strand *
07.02 – Copenhagen, Denmark @ Beta *
09.02 – Hamburg, DE @ Molotow exil *
10.02 – Berlin, DE @ Kantine Am Berghain *
12.02 – Vienna, Austria @ B72 *
13.02 – Milan, Italy @ Lo Fi *
14.02 – Zurich, Switzerland @ Bogen F *