Blood Moon is Jesse Brickel aka Young Yeller‘s dance-driven alter-ego, who’s apparently been plucked straight out of the 80s synthpop scene. Brickel has pared back the instrumentally sprawling setup of Young Yeller in favor of a more streamlined electronic sound, but the debut EP from Blood Moon is no less intricate in sound or structure.
Cosmic Sands might be a play on the font, but setting the jokiness of that connotation aside for a moment, the title takes on a kind of mystic weight. It’s a good representation for the combination of playfulness and seriousness that Blood Moon does quite well. The EP opens with the upbeat, disco-inspired pop tune “Ghost” with pulsing beats that are amusingly nostalgic, but from there it dives into less heated territory with “Grind”, which feels elegiac in comparison. The bright guitars introduced in this track ring all throughout the record as a complement to the cool synth washes that swim around Brickel’s vocals. The dark moments exist in the pulsing, otherworldly dancefloor beat of “Eternity” in harsh balance with Brickel’s warm, familiar vocals. But nothing stays still for too long on the record, and the synths fade seamlessly into a reverb-drenched guitar section with a spectral wail hovering overhead.
The EP is colored by an introspective dimension—each song reflects sincerely on a relationship in the lyrics—but Brickel intimates his thoughts in a way that doesn’t feel trite. There are recurrent references to living in a fantasy and to the feeling of being stuck, as Brickel confesses, “I’m in my head again.” But the record closes out on a steady, optimistic note as Brickel suggests, “I guess I know what I’m living for,” and gives us his reasons with plenty of dazzling, sustained keyboard chords for backup.
Cosmic Sands is due out November 11 on cassette via the brand-new LA imprint Imaginary Friends Recordings.