Moaning had only a single to their name, but their self-titled LP feels less like a debut than the peak of a seasoned group’s discography where they’ve found a way to effortlessly communicate a physical and emotional state." /> MOANING: SELF-TITLED | L.A. RECORD

MOANING: SELF-TITLED

March 14th, 2018 | Album reviews

MOANING
self-titled
Sub Pop

Before this year, L.A. post-punks Moaning had only a single to their name, but their self-titled LP feels less like a debut than the peak of a seasoned group’s discography where they’ve found a way to effortlessly communicate a physical and emotional state. The band and their surroundings are fleshed out by producer Alex Newport (At The Drive-In, Melvins, etc), whose grayscale palette unifies together Moaning’s sparse, jagged verses and swirling, anthemic choruses, creating the feel of an intimate basement show where the music practically consumes the room. Singer/guitarist Sean Solomon’s laments often take on opposing voices within the same song, embodying an internal dialogue of anxiety: “Impossible to apologize / you can’t even look me in the eye” he seethes on “Does This Work For You,” later pleading, “You can have everything / take it all” before dissonant chords pounds his second-guessing into submission. “The Same” (re-recorded from their single) takes a more outward look, with a positively defeated-sounding chorus of “We’re the same / everything else has changed.” But there’s a telling transition as he gives in to the chaos around him—“What’s next? Who knows, we’ll see how it goes”—before his voice suddenly jumps an octave, newly clear-eyed and confident. It may just be for a moment, but as the frontman of a young band from L.A. putting out their debut on Sub Pop, he’s got every reason to be feel like he can do anything.

—Zach Bilson