Words by Helen Knott
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Moon Duo first emerged as a Wooden Shjips side project, led by the band’s guitarist and singer Ripley Johnson. During breaks between Wooden Shjips records and tours Johnson would team up with his synth-playing wife Sanae Yamada to create music not-too-far removed from the mother shjip. The first Moon Duo album Mazes, released in 2011, features long, mysterious fuzzes with extended, noodling guitar solos that could easily have appeared amidst the psych drone of Wooden Shjips’ Back to Land or West.
In recent years, however, Wooden Shjips have been active only sporadically (though a four date UK tour is booked in for the autumn) and Moon Duo has moved out of the Shjips’ shadow. The music has developed alongside this, with last year’s album Shadow of the Sun featuring a more refined and poppy sound.
It’s still fuzzy, repetitive psych rock (indeed, it could be argued that it’s a little too repetitive on occasion) but it’s also much more focused. The addition of drummer John Jeffrey to the full time line-up provides an added dynamism that should be particularly effective live.
For Johnson the point of psychedelic music is “getting you outside of your normal space and transporting you away from it.” It’s up to you to decide if Moon Duo achieves that at the Hare and Hounds tomorrow night. They will be amply supported in their task by Birmingham’s post punkers Victories at Sea – well worth turning up early for.
Check out the video for ‘Animal’, the first single from Shadow of the Sun. It features professional skater Richie Jackson skating on everything but a skateboard:
‘Animal’ – Moon Duo
For more on Moon Duo, visit www.facebook.com/moonduoofficial
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