In these uncertain times the most honest thing you can do is to face your vulnerability and share it to receive confirmations and empathy. This is what happens in Uneasy Laughter, the second release from Los Angeles based Moaning, active for years in the underground LA scene. After a powerful debut album, Sean Solomon (vocals, guitar), Pascal Stevenson (bass guitar, keyboards) and drummer Andrew MacKelvie, confirmed their talent and they took a solid place in the contemporary post punk movement.
Uneasy Laughter is an offer of sincerity, as Solomon says: “Men are conditioned not to be vulnerable or admit they’re wrong. But I wanted to talk openly about my feelings and mistakes I’ve made.”; the tension between dreamy sounds and obscure bass lines offers the best scenario to explain that every pain can be managed when shared (“What I’d rather convey to people is that they’re not alone in what they think and how they feel.”)
Producer Alex Newport (At The Drive-In, Bloc Party) helped the band to balacing the sound, avoiding the clichés of the post-punk revival. A strong proof of their own identity. “Ego” plays with a typical new wave riff enforced by a dreamy synth and an explosive refrain, something that reminds the beauty of the late Stranglers. Solomon explains: “it talks about letting go of your bullshit so you can help other people and be present.”
“Make It Stop” is a dark song openly inspired by the first Interpol, with a distorted guitar leading the dance. “Stranger” is a melancholic jewel, touching in the effort of describing in music all the weakness we face every day in our life. “Running” captures for the obsessive bass line, the fragility of Solomon’s voice and the dramatic refrain; one of the best tracks of the album. “Connect the Dots” is a heartfelt tribute to eighties melodic textures, in which you can find echoes of Lotus Eaters and China Crisis.
Contemprary sounds and themes, the well-built dynamic of their music and the balance between the past and the present, the audacity of the fluid flow of rough lines and the restlessness of the melodic attitude. That’s why Uneasy Laughter is a convincing proposal which should lead the band towards a bright path.