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REVIEW: Momotaro – Second Side

Posted on Wednesday, 29 January by

Momotaro - Second Side

When Momotaro was incepted nearly two years, you had a band who have a penchant for dubbed out electronica and a loose attitude to songwriting. But they didn’t care, they just kept writing new songs and early followers had an assortment of premature sounds to soak up.

The three-piece were quick to translate everything to a live set so they could see where changes could be made. What you have with Second Side is the result of Peppi Knott, Rosie Flint and David Moody sculpting old tracks in this manner until the edges are smooth and the textures just so.

It’s curious though, that the album name references the reimagining of tracks when many listeners have either never heard their early work or can’t remember it clearly enough to notice the subtle changes. Except this isn’t really about the alterations but rather a philosophy occupied by the magic of interpreting their tracks with a live set. And that has to be remembered when you’re listening to this wonderfully measured debut album.

Almost immediately, you’re met by spongy basslines caressing you while shimmering melodies lift you to an otherworldly plain in ‘Dust’. It’s a motif that runs throughout the album. But beneath the rich surface are layers of delicate drones that enhance the atmospherics, which is often where a second side can come in. The tracks aren’t particularly dense but there’s much joy to be had in finding elusive sounds that may have gone unnoticed before.

In the end though, what’s most illuminating is the relationship the drones have with the organic sounds. The bass often acts as a cavernous pit for the twinkling guitars and pianos to peer into. This juxtaposition between light and dark might cause a conflict but instead, it’s a mutual embrace. Along with the oriental tones of ‘Kite’, Momotaro create an eclectic texture palette for you to salivate at. It makes for an absolutely captivating listen as you flitter between the head-spinning sparkles of guitars and melting beneath the sultry, warbling bass of ‘Tightrope’.

Where Momotaro glisten the brightest though is when they’ve struck a perfect balance between organic and manufactured sounds. ‘Lucky Window’ does just that; a glossy guitar is tempered by a thick, 80s influenced bassline while soulful vocals ensures the cathartic release is certain. Throughout the album, you’re bathed in dulcet tones and a thoughtful soundscapes ripe for introspection. But ‘Lucky Window’ is the track you’ll most want to be lost in.

Escapism is a beautiful vice. And listening to an album is just one of many ways you can achieve such an effect. But there is another way – a second side. Occasionally, you come across a band who can weave such a mystical resonance, you yearn to hear it live. And if you do see Momotaro live, don’t be surprised to find yourself rooted to the floor absorbing everything they throw at you.

Second Side is released on 1 February with an album launch at Green Door Store.

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Matt Yau

Matt Yau

Showcase Critic at SQ Magazine
Freelance music journalist with a reputation in Sussex for uncovering new music. Has led SQ Magazine's 'Showcase' since 2013. Obsessive thinker, habitual music listener and timid photographer.
Matt Yau

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