Betty Moon is back with album number 9, Hellucination. indieBerlin has the lowdown.
It’s not often we get sent an album from someone with as much heritage in the business as Betty Moon. The Toronto-born singer announced herself as a musical talent while still in school, releasing her first album not long after in 1991 with A&M Records (whose catalogue stretches from Joan Baez to Sting).
A year in the making, Hellucination is Moon’s ninth full-length: one she describes as “easily my favorite compilation of work to-date.” It arrived in mid-2019, with ‘Save My Soul’ and later ‘Crazy (What You Make Me)’ as the lead singles (with the latter spawning a number of remixes). The album follows on from 2017’s Chrome.
Hellucination is Moon’s ninth full-length: one she describes as “easily my favorite compilation of work to-date.”
The new record leads with ‘Save My Soul’, with Moon setting the moody atmosphere in her trademark style. It’s clear from the off that the album is a continuation of her journey away from more traditional guitar rock towards electronic experimentalism. The bass and drums are self-consciously computerised, giving Moon’s voice the centre-stage.
‘Runaway’, however, the next track up, deliberately contradicts this tendency. The synthesizers remain, only this time with more organic bass and guitar lines, giving a nineties shine to what is otherwise a modern-sounding pop song.
The album takes a more intriguing turn with ‘Fear Takes Control’. Here the diversity of Moon’s electronic inspirations becomes apparent, with a minimalist, techno-influenced beat overlaid with much more affected vocals. It’s a bold, disorienting sound for a mid-point song. In fact, this is a standout track of the album.
You tangibly feel the fun that Moon had in creating this set of songs.
From here on you tangibly feel the fun that Moon had in creating this set of songs and the seeming ease with which she was able to do so. The souly-sounding ‘Without You’ provides yet another twist. Its wandering bassline and light guitar are strangely reminiscent of Red Hot Chili Peppers, albeit with Moon’s added emotion.
By the end of the album, your head’s almost spinning from the number of sharp turns you’ve taken over the past 40 minutes. Hellucination, though, shows a smart pop song writer at the peak of her powers.
by Luke Davis
Luke began writing about music for his university paper while studying in England’s cold, post-industrial North. He became a regular reviewer of new releases, live shows, theatre and film, before moving to the big, grey blob of London. He has written indie and electronica reviews for indieBerlin since arriving in Berlin in 2017, while pursuing other freelance writing, editing and communications projects (and struggling to learn German). You can follow Luke here and read his recent reviews here.