Posted on February 9th, 2015 (3:00 pm) by Nick Manai

“All the seasons turn into one song / And the elements surround us now,” Molly Dean sings on “Moving Scene,” towards the top of Moon & Pollution's debut LP, The Box Borealis. It probably isn’t a lyric that is supposed to be taken literally, or to be ripped out of context (like we're doing right now) and taken as the Moon & Pollution mission statement. It’s pretty obvious that summer would be hard to find amidst these low register pulsations. Still, the physical elements that you can feel in contact on these ten songs are nicely represented by the idea of “seasons,” and there is a pervading encasement to the mixture of Dean’s vocals and producer Graham O’Brien’s beats that can be palpable.

“Moving Scene” is dark and decadent. This will become well-trodden territory for Moon & Pollution through the course of the album, reinforcing the “one-song” mantra. They aren’t stepping into new territory here, and could easily be imagined as a more electronically eclectic version of Beach House, or a less electronically eclectic version of Purity Ring. As with those two precursors, the main idea is atmosphere, but specifically atmosphere that is most effective when those deep female vocals are overshadowing production.

If this combination is on display beautifully on the haunting “Moving Scene,” it reaches a pinnacle on the more elusive, “Alter Eagle.” The song, which originally appeared on the Teen Wolf soundtrack (to give you an idea of its mood), begins in austere simplicity. A drum kick rattles behind Dean’s vocals, which effortlessly transition from raspy to soulful. “I fall, I fall / Over this breathe I breathe,” she sings on the chorus. It’s a little bit too resigned to be intoxicating, like she’s already given up hope and is telling you just because.Elsewhere, Dean can be seen injecting more yearning into her songs, like the tuneful, “Darkroom Double,” which seems less consistently realized as other sides of The Box Borealis, but still fits the script.

At their most austere, Moon & Pollution struggle to breathe the kind of effortlessly convincing arguments that put Beach House at the top of year end lists, and they hardly create the kind of stir that other electro-pop acts push into their beats. Take the unfortunately titled, “Solace Sandwich,” whose intro lacks the immediacy of a great slow-burner and never quite rises above that occasion. Moon & Pollution can sometimes rest too easily, enraptured by the atmosphere of the elements they’re surrounded by. However, feeling isn’t quite the same as believing.

Track List:

  1. The Box Borealis
  2. Moving Scene
  3. Moon & Pollution
  4. The Magnetic North
  5. Darkroom Double
  6. Solace Sandwich
  7. I Know...
  8. I Didn't Look
  9. Alter Eagle
  10. The Lonely Quiet
Moon & Pollution - The Box Borealis Review
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Our Rating

67 / 100
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