Growing up, everyone tells you not to do drugs. Some people tell you not to do them because you could get addicted and then are on the fast track for life in a cardboard box in an alley somewhere. Some people will tell you not to do certain drugs because they have had a bad trip. I’m here to tell you simply not to listen to Moon Duo’s Escape while participating in recreational drug use, unless you like your acid washed down with a nightmare four song EP.
Moon Duo is Erik Johnson (of Wooden Shjips fame) and Sanae Yamada. Escape is their third record and first for Woodsist. Escape finds Johnson back to his old tricks: big guitar fuzz, drones, and nods to classic rock greats like The Doors and the Velvet Underground as well as a healthy dose of Krautrock influence.
Escape’s eponymous first track is easily the best. Slightly decipherable vocals and the semblance of a melody put it in great contrast to the rest of the record. The song is bright, hazy pop and has stoner pop-like meandering guitars. But even a bad trip usually starts off good.
Things get sinister with the opening riff of “In The Trees.” A big two-chord guitar riff runs the entire seven and a half minutes of the song and while the length coupled with the intentional monotony may make your eyelids heavy, Johnson’s vocals are lurking in the background, beckoning you down dark alleys. Each song has this quality.
Unfortunately, therein lies the problem with this record. It may only be four songs but the uniform structure (almost whispered vocals, two chord guitar riff, some keyboards followed by seemingly endless guitar noodling) lasts at least six minutes at a time, or in the case of “Motorcycle, I Love You”, at least eight. (That’s asking a lot of your listeners, Mr. Johnson, especially when you decide to go off on a five minute guitar solo!)
To the psychedelics-addled mind, this stuff is probably gold. It falls short when you have too much control of your own thought processes.