MMOTHS: Luneworks

Debut album from Irish electronic master takes listener on a trip through multiple moods with masterful precision.

This is the debut album from Ireland’s MMOTHS, the name under which Jack Colleran performs. Colleran has been stirring up attention for the last few years with two EPs and impressive live performances. Given the hype it would be easy for the man to fold and deliver a record that didn’t live up to expectations. Instead, he’s given us one that surpasses all that we might have hoped for.

Although one might easily see the record as a collection of songs the other way to read it is as one long piece that takes the listener through a variety of moods, even if those moods can’t always be named. “Ohm”, for instance, sounds like a meditation for piano recorded in the basement practice room of an ancient Eastern European church while someone blasts Bathory in adjacent room. It arrives late in the record, leading us into the quiet, lovely moments of the musical suite “Naoko”. That too might become saddled with the “meditative” moniker (one that’s overused) but none of this material is entirely indicative of what happens on the rest of the album.

There’s a pause for dancing-type sounds that drone and pop with life (“Deu”, “Eva”) and a few that sound like soundtracks to films that haven’t yet been made (the somewhat disturbing “Para Polaris”, the aptly titled “Lucid”, which almost hints at folk music). The playing on these and in fact all the material on the record is never less than gorgeous and the sense that electronic music can be as heartfelt, imaginative and (the dreaded) timeless as anything prevails.

Colleran steers the record away from monochromatic moods and textures while also giving the record a sonic center, a constant reminder that this is MMOTHS we’re listening to and not a collection of singles from various artists intent on grabbing whatever audience can be had. That too is commendable as is the sense of originality.

No doubt fans of deep electronic music will find a series of obscure recordings that hint at what Colleran has achieved here, but none of those is likely to be equal to what the man delivers. There are limitations to working within the genre and a sense that things will date faster than week-old bread is one of them. But we needn’t worry about that here because although there is plenty that sounds of-the-moment we also get the sense that we’re drifting on a continuum between the future and the past.

Nowhere is that more evident than the aforementioned “Deu”, three-plus minutes of exotic sounds that creep along at a pace that distorts place and time and asks us to believe that neither of those is as important as the sound we find ourselves at the nucleus of. The opening “You” also reminds us of this as it gently eases us into the world that Colleran has created, a world that all who exist from this moment forward will be born into and bathed in the warm sounds that stand as the music of MMOTHS.

RATING 7 / 10
Call for essays, reviews, interviews, and list features for publication consideration with PopMatters.
Call for essays, reviews, interviews, and list features.