Supermoon consist of guitarist Katie Gravestock (Groovestock to her band mates), drummer Selina Crammond, and the bass/guitar sharing duo of Adrienne LaBelle and Alie Lynch. A well oiled democracy, the four members of Supermoon share songwriting and vocal duties between them.
Supermoon’s press release describes them, rather bafflingly, as “part hot fudge sundae, part film noir.” No we don’t have a clue what that means either, but what we do know is that they sound a lot more like music than that. The music of Supermoon exists at various parts of the spectrum between jangle-pop and post-punk, sometimes sounding bright and upbeat and at others lurking in a darker, more industrial setting. They deal in intricate, entwined electric guitar lines and loose, clattering drums, while the vocals go from sugary-sweet melodies to half-spoken angsty monologues.
Supermoon are from Vancouver. The most populous city in British Columbia, the city of Vancouver is home to around 600,000 people, whist the Greater Vancouver area ups that number to around 2.4 million. Located in Western Canada on the border to the US, Vancouver is one the most ethnically diverse cities in Canada, with 52% of it’s residents having a first language other than English. Originally known as the rather unpromising Gastown, the city became known as Vancouver in the 19th century, growing rapidly due primarily to forestry, which remains the city’s largest industry. Vancouver is one of Canada’s major cultural centres, and due in part to it’s diverse populous, it has produced acclaimed artists in almost every genre you care to think of. From a thriving folk scene in the 1960’s, through punk in the 1970’s and grunge in the early 1990’s Vancouver has always produced fascinating acts including, D.O.A, Ladyhawk and Japandroids, as well as more mainstream, and questionable, acts such as Michael Buble and Bryan Adams.
Supermoon formed following the collapse of two other bands, garage-rock band Movieland and jangle-pop trio Pups. The band released their debut EP, Comet Lovejoy back in 2015, and have this month followed it up with something we haven’t seen in a very long time, a double 7″ release, entitled Playland.
Supermoon deal in short, sharp blasts of musical charm. So short that they pack eight tracks into four sides of 7″ vinyl with no track even reaching the three minute mark. What makes them stand out from the lo-fi pop crowd is the pure energy of their music, these recordings sound almost like they’re being played live. Every driving bass line, drum clatter and rich, ringing guitar line, sounds almost like it’s being played for the first time.
Supermoon’s workload sharing ethos plays out across the record, the interplay of the instrumentation seems to be crucial to their sound, each instrument seems to take turns resolving into the foreground. Like their contemporaries Girlpool and Tacocat, Supermoon are a band who make being in a band look incredibly fun. They don’t seem to worry too much about making sure everything is crystal clear, instead they realise that it’s more important to be honest and accessible and create an overall atmosphere.
Musically they seem to take influence from all over the place; Night Division has shades of the literate-emo of Pretty Girls Make Grave, Stories We Tell Ourselves about Ourselves is the sort of angular dance-floor filler Hot Hot Heat perfected circa-2003, whilst Fast Fashion has the same dark post-punk atmosphere of PINS or September Girls. It could all be a little incohesive, but despite the array of styles, and singers, they seem to have a shared togetherness that keeps the record from falling into disarray.
The best moment here is the sublime Bottle Ships; there’s hints of Clap Your Hand Say Yeah in the catchy, but slightly off-kilter vocal melody, whilst lyrically it seems to deal with the unhealthy nature of obsession, “I make better company at night, I always know about my darker side.” It all builds to a brilliant messy ending, a cacophony of distorted guitars, and clattering drums. It’s a perfect summary of Supermoon; thrilling, noisy, urgent and a little rough around the edges, what’s not to like?
There’s something of a live demo feel about this record, a factor you’ll either find beguiling and charming, or out right irritating. We fall into the former category, but crystal clear production fanatics might be better off steering clear.
Playland is out now via Mint Records. Supermoon are currently on a US tour, click HERE for details.