Firstly, allow me to climb up upon my high horse and shout; “FEMALE FRONTED IS NOT A GENRE!” Right, now I’ve got that out of my system and dismounted having had my rant against lazy reviewers (yes, I’m sure I’ve used that phrase myself in the past but I like to think even at my advanced age I’m capable of learning), and onto the band. ‘New Moon’ is the second full length release from Oslo based trio Superlynx, and if like me you’d never heard them before, it’s more than fair to say you are in for a treat.
‘Hex’ opens the album with the slow, thumping drums and heavy bass beloved of those who worship at the temple of Doom, the rhythm section soon being joined by a trippy guitar and the soothing siren vocals of Pia Isaksen, the various elements gently coalescing to draw the listener into their world of magic and mysticism. ‘Breath’ follows with a gentle refrain that conjures images of mysterious Arabia, the guitar surely drawing inspiration from the same well of sound that lead Jimmy Page to create ‘Kashmir’. Moments of intense playing intersperse the gentle idyll of the song, preventing it becoming just a single paced dirge, and likewise preventing the listener from being lulled too far into a dream state. A new element is added with ‘Becoming The Sea’, a stark, almost discordant piano opening (skilfully played by drummer Ole Tiegen to raise a stiff finger up to the stereotype) bringing a darkly Gothic tone to the proceedings before the guitar of Daniel Bakken blasts forth with a riff as intense as storm waves crashing against a cliff face. Indeed, in a style so apt for the song title, the music comes and goes in a tidal ebb and flow, be it a gentle soothing lap of of a wave, to the devastating crash of a flood.
The magical nature of Superlynx’s inspirations is no more apparent then in the title track ‘New Moon’, the well travelled paths of pagan mysticism prevented from landing in the world of cliches by the compellingly laconic singing as well as infectiously pounding beats that will have even the most static of necks nodding along in servitude to the music. Superlynx continue to deliver this same combination of the ethereal and psychedelic mixed with a wall of chest pummelling blasts of down-tuned fuzz beloved of so many of my fellow long hairs for the remainder of the album, from the near sprint of the sub four minute ‘New Moon’, to the last fading notes of closer ‘The Thickest Night’, each track having its own subtle character, whilst at the same time being a continuation of the previous one.
‘New Moon’ really deserves to be listened to as a whole; whilst individual tracks undoubtedly have their own merits and would stand up on their own, or as part of a compilation, experiencing the album in its entirety allows the listener to be fully drawn in by the hypnotic looping beats and ritualistic compositions of the band. I found myself drifting away to a new plane as I absorbed the music, and my only chemical relaxant was a nice cup of tea; I imagine those who like to relax with other herbal substances would find this an excellent accompaniment to their leisure activities, although it frankly needs no augmentation.