Sunday, 30 March 2014

Wu Tang Set To Release Just A Single Copy Of New Album ''Once Upon A Time In Shaolin''

In what must be the strangest album release since Radiohead gave away In Rainbows for free in 2007 and Beck released a record consisting of sheet music to be played by the listener two years back, the legendary hip-hop force that is Wu Tang Clan are set to drop just one copy of their new album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin.

The new album, not to be confused with A Better Tomorrow which is still set to be released conventionally later this year, is already finished and is being stored in a Moroccan vault currently. It'll be toured at museums and festivals before being sold to the highest bidder, and the band have confirmed that this material will never be available on iTunes, meaning even the biggest Wu fan in the world will have to go without its contents.

Speaking of which, the double album consists of 31 tracks and last for an epic 128 minutes. Once Upon A Time In Shaolin was described on the album's new website as ''encapsulat[ing] the Clan’s legendary dark funk and avant garde sound and is produced in the original Wu Tang style of the 90s''. The website, created by the RZA and album producer Tarik 'Cilvaringz' Azzougarh, contains messages detailing what the Wu see as a crisis in the music industry right now and explaining their reasoning behind the unconventional release.

''History demonstrates that great musicians such as Beethoven, Mozart and Bach are held in the same high esteem as figures like Picasso, Michelangelo and Van Gogh. However, the creative output of today’s artists such as The RZA, Kanye West or Dr. Dre, is not valued equally to that of artists like Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst or Jean-Michel Basquiat.''

''The music industry is in crisis. Creativity has become disposable and value has been stripped out.

Mass production and content saturation have devalued both our experience of music and our ability to establish its value.

Industrial production and digital reproduction have failed. The intrinsic value of music has been reduced to zero.

Contemporary art is worth millions by virtue of its exclusivity.

This album is a piece of contemporary art.

The debate starts here…''

So what do you think? In my opinion, this is a groundbreaking, incredible idea and one which takes a hugely effective stand against the wide availability of music online these days, but fuck, I want to hear that album.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Earl Sweatshirt at The Academy (26/3/14) - A Review

The last time Earl Sweatshirt came to Ireland was a decidedly underwhelming experience through no fault of his own, with the huge audience in the open space of Slane Castle doing him and cohort Tyler The Creator no favours. This time by booking the Academy Earl has ensured an up close and personal concert that has always worked best for Odd Future's in your face brand of rap music and sure enough when the youngster emerges on stage he gets a deafening response to ''Kill'' which kicks things off in a very lively manner.

He appreciates it too: ''I fuck with y'all's energy levels tonight. Make some more noise for no reason!'' he declares, and predictably the crowd go wild, feeding off the energy Earl is giving them with a no punches pulled start to the setlist in which he drops ''20 Wave Caps'', ''Molasses'' and ''Sunday'' early on, all major highlights taken off his acclaimed sophomore record Doris last year. With Doris featuring so many guest appearances and nearly half of Earl's tracks on his debut utilizing Tyler's appearance, the young rapper cuts certain songs in half (''Sunday'', ''Orange Juice'') and allows the audience and himself to fill in the blanks for other parts which mostly works: ''Hive'' is a showcase for the audience to remember their lines as Earl goes acapella in a shout and response style with the hundreds packed inside the venue for Vince Staples exceptional third verse, while the crowd also complete the chorus of ''Woah'' with roaring chants of ''G-O-L-F-W-A-N-G'' throughout that make it one of the best moments of night.

Another standout is ''Chum'', one of the best singles of 2013 and one that everyone in attendance is well versed in and Doris opener ''Pre'' is excellent, but the song of the night goes all the way back to Earl's beginnings as a demented teenager with ''Earl'' getting a massive reaction following a brilliant 'knock-knock' intro and finding the man himself at his most aggressive for the penultimate track of the set. Having taken the time to congratulate the crowd (''Are you proud of yourselves tonight?'') and mess around with us a bit more (he inexplicably renames a fan 'Zip Code'), resident white OF member Lucas, whose presence has been welcome all night as DJ, leaves the decks and bounces with Earl for ''Drop'', a fittingly loud closer.

You could be forgiven for wanting more than just an hour for your money, but in fairness Sweatshirt has exhausted his limited songlist within that 60 minute period and done it in some style too. As he jumps off stage to high five fans another obvious bonus that was evident thoughout the gig is Earl's transformation from shy teenager to eccentric host, and his engagement with the crowd all night has been laid back, genuine and often hilarious. The Academy is the perfect place for the young rapper to thrive and last night Earl Sweatshirt exposed his rapidly developing performance skills in an intense and all too short experience. You get the feeling it won't be long before he's back with a greater repertoire of tracks to choose from and an even bigger presence both on stage and in the rap game. From here, things are only going to get better for hip-hop's most promising star.


20 Wave Caps
Orange Juice

Friday, 21 March 2014

''Morning Phase'' Beck - A Review

Morning Phase marks the return of Beck Hansen a total of six years after Modern Guilt, an album that saw the always adventurous showman play it short and safe in a solid but unremarkable effort. For this, his 12th studio album, Beck is attempting to revisit the acoustic glory of his 2002 wallowing break up masterpiece Sea Change, declaring Phase a ''companion'' to an album that unearthed deeper layers to the American, showcasing a maturity that many would presume seemed beyond the years of a man who brought us his signature slacker hit ''Loser'' in the early nineties. But that would be an unfair assessment; consider Mutations, an earlier release in Beck's catalogue, and you have another example of reserved beauty that was perhaps slightly overlooked at the time, so considering Hansen's qualified success in this department, we certainly have reason to expect good results on Morning Phase.

''Morning'' welcomes the listener in with a track that bares more than just a passing resemblance to its Sea Change counterpart ''The Golden Age'', with a sighed vocal and acoustic backing. While it's a comfortable introduction it's also impossible for the song to standalone due to its inescapable similarity to past work, and it inspires concern that Beck is going to tread this closely to his old material throughout Morning Phase. This proves to be an unfounded suspicion though as ''Heart Is A Drum'' casually uplifts its audience with a simple piano track mixed with easy listening guitar that sounds like a potential single before we get to vintage Beck on ''Say Goodbye'', pre-released track ''Blue Moon'', ''Don't Let It Go'' and ''Unforgiven'' in particular, a gorgeous slow burner featuring drowning synth chords.

This excellent midsection showcases a darker side to the album that while recalling its 2002 sibling never attempts to recreate it, as Beck executes a series of atmospheric harmonies and sounds in his absolute element. Alongside these acoustic pieces are delicate string accompaniments (''Cycle'', ''Phase'') that weave in and around the track list tying the album together nicely, but when this soundscape is utilized into a full track it creates one of the standout moments of the record on ''Wave'', as Beck's voice gets lost within the warm synth textures in a simple, emotional, delicate highlight. From here things are brought to a slow close with ''Country Down'', a feel good penultimate track that features a wonderful harmonica solo before ''Waking Light'' ends Morning Phase with an anti-climatic fade out comedown, the final track acting as the musical equivalent of an exhale of breath in the most positive way possible.

Upon its conclusion, there's no doubt that Morning Phase is another tremendous success for the prolific songwriter. A successfully crafted homage to (one of) Beck's magnum opus', this is another trophy to add to an already glittering collection. Considering the American's skill when he focuses on creating quality folk style indie music, this direction could certainly be a wonderful way for Beck to settle into the latter stages of his career. It's never easy to guess where he's going to go next, but this path of bluesy contemplation is one that serves Beck extremely well, as evidenced in the stellar Morning Phase.


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

''G I R L'' Pharrell - A Review

Pharrell's ascension back to the top of the music world began last year with his work alongside Daft Punk on Random Access Memories and most obviously, single of the year ''Get Lucky''. Coming off the back of Grammy wins and skyrocketing success, it seems as good a time as any for Pharrell to drop only his second solo album, and the results are surprising.

Pharrell's reputation as a production genius is no secret and it's definitely in full flow here, but not in the manner you'd expect if you were looking for hip-hop style beats in the manner of his 2006 debut In My Mind. Back then the guest list was full with rap class- Kanye, Jay Z, Pusha T and and Snoop were among the names adorning the tracklist, but this time Williams opts for just Alicia Keys and Justin Timberlake, in a telling move which hints at the pop direction being taken on G I R L, an album that wisely makes use of Pharrell's good as ever mainstream appeal while never compromising his integrity as he executes a series of low key funk pop jams in just over 45 minutes.

''Marilyn Monroe'' opens proceedings in a stylish pop manner and sets the tone for the rest of the album which is continued with Timberlake's understated appearance on ''Brand New''. The production is undoubtedly first rate as you would expect, with majestic moments on tracks like ''Gust of Wind'' which boasts strings, synths and Daft Punk on vocoder, and ''Know Who You Are'', a wonderful duet with the always superb Alicia Keys.

The best moments come with the funk-pop vibes that Pharrell sends throughout as ''Hunter'', a retro disco throwback and ''Gush'' with its stylish electric guitar moves, make for choice picks among these ten tracks. ''Happy'', it goes without saying, is the Academy Award nominated smash hit single of the year, and it's an excellent pop song that deserves its mainstream success and fits nicely into the context of the album. Perhaps minor complaints could be issued at the overlong, slow burning ''Lost Queen'' and indistinct ''Come Get It Bae'', but overall Pharrell has judged this record time wisely and executed it in a lo-fi, experienced and designed manner.

Simply put, by the end of G I R L you'll have felt ten high quality R&B tunes breeze past in a pleasantly spent, super quick three quarters of an hour. It's an extremely enjoyable piece of music, nothing more, nothing less, and Pharrell has certainly judged his second release very well, with ''Happy'' certainly not marking the end of his chart success for the year. This is plain and simple pop produced to an excellent standard by a premature veteran of the industry who has very much found a second life in this direction, and could and should continue to explore this new, much suited style in greater detail from now on, having delivered what will surely be one of the biggest successes of 2014.


''Oxymoron'' Schoolboy Q - A Review

Coming off the back of Kendrick's outrageous success, a blow out cypher at the BET Awards last year and continuing with Isaiah Rashad's standout debut last month, it's safe to say that it's never been a better time to be a part of Black Hippy and Top Dawg Entertainment. Just about the most hyped group of rappers in hip-hop right now, it feels like anything TDE touch will turn to gold, and here we have the third record from one of the flagship members of the group in Schoolboy Q. Oxymoron comes at a point where greatness is now expected of any TDE member, and following a relatively well received initial two outings by Q in 2011 and 2012, it seemed safe to assume that this could be one of the biggest and best rap albums of the year if executed correctly.

Unfortunately this is far from the case. Q is a wholly different rapper from his labelmates, favouring brash, loud anthems over the conscious rap style of Kendrick and Rashad, but this isn't the problem itself. After all, there are any number of similar minds in the game right now who are just providing straight up bangers over any deep thought pieces, and doing it extremely well; ASAP Rocky, Bronson and Tyler to name just three. But Schoolboy's problem is not that he has nothing to say, it's that he's saying it badly. The lyrics we are subjected to throughout Oxymoron's 60 minute, outstayed running time are beyond average, and repetitive to a fault as Schoolboy brags about drugs, money and women in cringeworthy style from first track to last.

There are moments of quality throughout the sludge, mainly provided by well chosen guest spots that include Kendrick on ''Collard Greens'', a decent lead single you should be familiar with already from last summer, Tyler The Creator who brings his trademark darkness and menacing production to ''The Purge'', and Raekwon on album highlight ''Blind Threats''. Another consistent highlight is the album's production which features the usual TDE cohorts in Sounwave, THC and Digiphonics, who bring some much needed background musical quality to tracks like ''What They Want'' which suffer from Q and 2 Chainz standing in front of them.

As impressive as the music can be at times however (''Blind Threats'' in particular is excellent), it still cannot save Schoolboy's resounding mediocrity in the rap department. Q boasts a decent flow but can't back it up with any substance, and every time he mentions another drug deal or all night party, it's hard to shake the feeling that there's somebody on the rap scene right now doing the same thing a whole lot better.

It's easy to see where Schoolboy Q fits into Black Hippy- he's that eccentric loose cannon, the loud one who they'll give the hooks to- but the undeniable fact based on this material is that right now (and probably in a long term future, judging by the fact it's a little late to turn things around as far in as a third album) his reputation and popularity is being carried by better, younger, and more talented friends. There is a great deal more to come from Top Dawg and Black Hippy and he'll probably ride a mighty high wave as a result of it, but I'll be surprised if it gets any better for Schoolboy Q's solo career than Oxymoron, and all considered, that's a damning verdict.


Electric Picnic Line Up 2014

There it is, and looking decent if a little underwhelming. As predicted we got Outkast and Beck for headliners but a couple of nice surprises include 90's trip-hop legends Portishead and Chic feat. Nile Rodgers, which is sure to be an incredibly fun gig whether you're familiar with them or not.

The organizers seem to be trying to appeal to a lighter audience with Lily Allen and Paolo Nutini in big spots on the poster which makes sense but still feels like a bit of a cop out anyway, while veteran acts are a huge feature this year with Pet Shop Boys, The Wailers, Simple Minds and The Stranglers joining Chic.

Fresh talent comes in the form of London Grammar, St. Vincent, Temples, Metronomy, White Denim and many more, although I'm still hoping for a bigger rap/hip-hop contingent and holding out at least for Tyler's addition to the list later on.

All in all, it looks like a solid line up which can definitely be improved by later announcements. For now I'm pretty happy.

UPDATE: If I could choose a group of acts which I feel are reasonable, realistic additions to the weekend that would bring it up to a great standard, I'd go with the following. I still have hope for some of these names to crop up:

The Prodigy
Azealia Banks
Tyler The Creator
Perfect Pussy
Young Fathers
Julian Casablancas
Damien Dempsey

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Electric Picnic 2014 Predictions & Speculation

Well, it's that time of the year again. The Electric Picnic line up is being released tomorrow afternoon and I for one can confidently say I will be in Stradbally this summer having missed last years event which followed an immense weekend in 2012. Judging by the sound of things its set to be a great line up this year, so last minute I've decided to get in on the banter and post my own predictions on the line up, much of which I've based on Entertainment's article as well as a variety of other sources, and even some thoughts in my own head.

Headline Acts
Well it looks like there's a 90% chance we'll be seeing Andre 3000 and Big Boi in Laois at the end of August, so expect Outkast to be the first name on the list tomorrow. They've announced a festival tour for the summer so simply put there's no real reason why the hip-hop legends won't have been snapped up by EP organisers if they've any sense at all.

With Arctic Monkeys and Arcade Fire having already announced individual shows, there's two obvious candidates out of the way, so who else will take to the Main Stage? My money is on a few contenders who are currently touring following the release of albums this year; Beck following Morning Phase, Pharrell Williams who dropped Girl and Foo Fighters, who are set to release their 8th album sometime this year. All of the above would be sufficient names, while underneath them, two acts I'd dub as sub-headliners would be Elbow (just for the sake of another beautiful ''One Day Like This'' finale), who have their own show at Royal Hospital Kilmainham in June but really seem to love the Irish crowd, and The Prodigy, who have booked a gig in Cork for the summer while mysteriously leaving Dublin out of the equation, suggesting to me that they're waiting for a festival.

Another wildcard could be Lily Allen who is releasing the wonderfully titled Sheezus sometime soonish and playing Glastonbury, although I'm not sure how the crowd would react to her. Similarly Coldplay have been another name thrown around that I don't reckon quite suit the festival, although they wouldn't be half as bad as The Killers in 2012.

What would obviously be a dream for myself, as I'm sure anyone reads the blog regularly will know, would be for Kanye West to bring the Yeezus Tour to Stradbally, but until I see it on paper I won't start thinking about possibility of seeing the main man live.

The Rest

With Longitude scoring massively in the middlewight department and booking Bombay Bicycle Club, Haim and Chvrches, EP will have to pull out a few surprises to fill their line up with genuine class. Midcard talent could likely come in the form of any of the following acts on tour in support of new material: SBTRKT, London Grammar, Katy B, Azaelia Banks, Temples, Morgan Delt, Mogwai, Young Fathers, , Skrillex, Sun Kil Moon, Maximo Park and Julian Casablancas.

In the veteran category, Blondie are releasing their tenth studio album, Ghosts Of Download this year which could mean a spot for them, while The Proclaimers are a potential throwback too. The Wailers have also been mentioned which would be a seriously feel good show and hangover cure for the Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

Again, it's no secret who I'd like to see personally on this sort of level judging from the site, and I have a sneaky feeling that Tyler, The Creator or perhaps the Odd Future crew in general could be in with a shout here, as the controversial rapper recently announced a tour in which he hits Europe but has omitted Ireland from the list. OF crooner Frank Ocean and Kendrick Lamar would be two more wonderful additions to the festival, and they are both set to release new material in 2014 so who knows, maybe I'll get lucky.

On the Irish front, electro producer Shit Robot should make the cut, perhaps Damien Dempsey will pop his head in and it'd be no surprise to see the likes of Kodaline, The Strypes, The Original Rudeboys and other small Irish favourites also thrown into the mix.

In any case, if this list is halfway correct I'll be a very happy man come this time tomorrow, so let's wait and see if I had any idea of what I was talking about. Hopefully so. Here are my final predictions:

Outkast, Foo Fighters, Pharrell Williams, Beck, The Prodigy, Lily Allen.

Azaelia Banks, Tyler The Creator/Odd Future, SBTRKT, Julian Casablancas, London Grammar, Blondie, The Proclaimers, Shit Robot, Damien Dempsey, Kodaline.

I'll be bringing you the official line up when it's posted tomorrow afternoon so stick with HMM for more.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Live Preview: Earl Sweatshirt at The Academy 26/03/14

Any self respecting Irish hip-hop fans will want to find themselves in the Academy this March 26th as Odd Future prodigy Earl Sweatshirt hits Dublin for what is sure to be an intense live show.

The 20 year old rapper is famed for his mysterious backstory, having first appeared on the scene in 2010 at just 16 years of age with his outrageous mixtape Earl before seemingly disappearing without explanation, leading to fan campaign to ''Free Earl'' which only added to OF's notoriety as they grew in stature. As it turned out, Sweatshirt had been sent to a Samoan detention center for troubled youths by his mother who wasn't such a fan of him hanging around with Tyler, The Creator and co.

The mythical status that Earl aquired in his absence only added to his growing reputation as one to watch and he delivered in style last year with his coming of age second LP Doris, which I reviewed quite favourably right here last August.

It won't be Earl's first time on our green pastures since he dropped Doris, but his performance with Tyler at last year's Slane gig was underwhelming for a number of reasons including a weak crowd and a somewhat awkward stage setting for the Wolf Gang crew, so if you're looking for the real deal then make sure you catch one of the rap game's most talented up and comers this month.

Tickets are available for 30 quid from your usual outlets, and of course, you'll find a review of the gig on HMM the day after as always.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

''Cilvia Demo'' Isaiah Rashad - A Review

The last time we witnessed the release of a Top Dawg Entertainment project was October 2012, when a certain album entitled good kid, m.A.A.d city was dropped by Kendrick Lamar. It took about a month for Lamar's second studio album to be declared a hip-hop classic and elevate him to stardom so naturally enough the TDE brand has exploded since, and as new found fans and rap connoisseurs dug backwards into the group's cataloue revealing more first rate work from Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock and Ab Soul, it became apparent that Top Dawg are only beginning to get ready for a period of domination over the rest of the rap world.

And so it follows that Isaiah Rashad, the 22 year old newcomer who signed to TDE last May, has received enough buzz from hip-hop heads to scare away the most seasoned of rappers, but on his debut mixtape/album/EP Cilvia Demo, you can't hear a single moments hesitiation or uncertainty. The Black Hippy apprentice breezes through these 14 tracks on his debut much the same way as his mentor Lamar did back in 2011 on Section .80, and the similarities with that album don't end there as the young debutant vividly recalls Kendrick's early work throughout Cilvia Demo, an album steeped in nostalgia, deep thought and refelctive raps over high quality beats.

The album seems to follow a chronological vibe that begins with ''Hereditry'', a dreamy opener that recalls bad lessons that Rashad learnt from his father before ''Webbie Flow'' pays tribute to Webbie, a southern rapper who exercised a big influence over the young rapper in his teenage years and the title track recounts tales of deliquency in the city as a young man. It's ''Cilvia Demo'' and ''R.I.P Kevin Miller'' in particular early on that demonstrate a seriously impressive smooth flow balanced with passionate delivery, and these two tracks stand out as a highlights by the end of the album, aided by great production from Joseph The Stranger and Black Metaphor, two of a variety of producers on the tracklist.

The mid section features a duo of collaborations on ''Ronnie Drake'' and ''West Savannah'' between Rashad and label mate SZA, which utilize a chilled R&B vibe due to nice vocal work from SZA that would almost hint at a romantic connection between the two if it weren't for Rashad's long-time girlfriend and son who he pays tribute to regularly on the album. There's plenty of tribute to go around for his music influences too, as Isaiah makes his idols more known and pronounced than most, shouting out to Outkast and Master P among others throughout.

As the record approaches its end we are provided with some of the best tracks it has to offer, as ''Tranquility'' showcases Rashad in deep thought, searching for meaning in his heritage and question religion while demonstrating a regretful, apologetic tone for previous flaws and sins committed in his youth and detailed on earlier tracks. ''Menthol'' was an already released single dropped to create hype for the album and it's easy to see why it was chosen with low key, piano laced production from Sounwave (Mark Spears, the man behind ''Bitch Don't Killy My Vibe'' and ''m.A.A.d city'') making this a highlight, while ''Heavenly Father'' asks ''if I tell my story would they book me for a show'' in perhaps the most Kendrick spit image moment of the record.

Cilvia Demo ends with ''Shot You Down'', a 7 minute remix of an early single by Rashad that dropped last year and by some margin the most ill fitted track on this album with its hard delivery, braggdocio rap and star power in the form of label mates Schoolboy Q and Jay Rock. But that's not to say it's a negative way to end things; in fact, ''Shot You Down'' makes for the best hip-hop track of 2014 so far and acts as a credits piece to an album in which Rashad has spent the majority in a state of self examination. This is the sound of Rashad celebrating alongside his established rap star friends as he joins them on the path to glory, effortlessly besting their verses and making himself the main attraction despite their own skill and execution.

And really that summarizes much of Isaiah Rashad's entry on the rap scene with Cilvia Demo- this is a fearless, relaxed introduction to a major new talent who is about to explode. It's actually striking how relatively quietly Cilvia Demo is being received right now considering the ability Rashad offers on it; just like everyone who was introduced to Kendrick Lamar on good kid, listened back on Section .80 and wondered how they could possibly have missed it in the first place, Cilvia Demo feels underappreciated in a good way, as though it's just waiting to be recognised on reflection when Rashad becomes the fully realized beast he threatens throughout this 49 minutes.

And once again speaking of Cilvia Demo's vivid likeness to Lamar's major debut, it's not strange to contemplate and ponder the fact that this might just be as good as that album. It's certainly the best material TDE has dropped aside from K's output, and if what happened next is anything to go by, then one must only assume Isaiah Rashad is destined for great things. An equally important factor that's evident is that he seems ready for them too; when asked by Sway last year about the immense hype and expectation that followed his appointment to TDE, Rashad's reply was simple: ''There's no pressure, I just gotta rap good.''


Wednesday, 5 March 2014

''Morgan Delt'' Morgan Delt - A Review

Another addition to the psychadelic rock revival early in 2014, Morgan Delt's self titled debut is a lovingly crafted homage to the 1960's, that's more concerned with recapturing the sonic atmosphere of that decade than the melodies and hooks which Temples attempted to recreate. And just like the aforementioned Temples, it's quite difficult to assess Morgan Delt on his own terms due to his immersion into the tightly knit, niche vintage genre that he is imitating.

In fairness to Delt, his approach is a lot looser and less disciplined than his growing list of contemporaries, and this wave of neo-pscyadelica washes over you in a somewhat brainwashing manner, which you can safely assume that the Californian native intended, in the style of his obvious influences. The chorusing ''la-la-la's'' and repeated imagery over backings that I'm sure are intended for LSD style visuals make for pleasant listening on a sober basis (and I'm sure in the depths of a drug binge it's near heavenly), but there's just something about this album that's as distant as Delt's faraway vocals. It's as if the music is lingering on this restained plane for its entirety, choosing to forgo the next level and explode into the ferocious zenith that logically follows in this line of music.

Ultimately, much like this year's other attempt at psychadelic revival in the indie scene, Morgan Delt's initial work is promising but requires a touch more originality and a little less replication, as this record loses much of its identity in its strict adherence to its source material.


Monday, 3 March 2014

''Moon'' Snowbird - A Review

Snowbird is an American/British duo consisting of Simon Raymonde, innovative multi instrumentalist of Cocteau Twins fame, and Stephanie Dosen, a young vocalist whose work thus far includes live spots and collaborations with Massive Attack and Chemical Brothers. All of which sounds like an promising set up, but if you were expecting an electronica/synth indie project you're in for a surprise.

Moon is almost shoegaze like in its dreamy piano pop, which most vividly recalls the criminally underrated 2004 ambient project The Dead Texan's self titled standalone effort. It's not as good an album as that, although there are moments when it feels like it could have been, mostly located on the first half of the record; ''Where Foxes Hide'' is an Air like acoustic piece that stands out alongside ''Amelia'', probably the best example of the duo's breezy aesthetic.

But too often Moon's low key style rewinds and repeates itself, and while it's an undeniably hypnotic and incredibly lovely sound, for the most part these 45 minutes are unvaried to a fault, which is the main reason why the second half can run a little dry at times. There are exceptions when the band try something different than their brand of soothing ballad, like ''In Lovely'' and opener ''I Heard The Owl Call My Name'', but these moments are few and far between.

Ultimately, Moon is an effortlessly easy listen and it would be difficult not to appreciate the warm textures and blissed out soundscapes that Snowbird present on their debut, but a little experimentation could go a long way towards seeing them become a far more interesting act in future.