by Jenn Kelly
Many bands struggle to come up with something fresh to say on a fifth album after working together intermittently for over a full decade. Ava Luna does not have this problem. They have collectively produced an unearthly, comfort-zone destroying album with their latest release, Moon 2, that sounds like it could be at home on Jabba’s luxury sail barge on Tatooine with ambitious concepts of reality.
The group labored and birthed this album in several different locations during the Fall and Winter of 2017, staked out in three distant locations: Vermont, Wilming and Hull, Massachusetts. While this album could be viewed as a more subtle endeavor sonically than their previous works, it demonstrates a more collaborative expierience. While exploring fantasy concepts and the idea of an ephemeral utopia, Ava Luna still manages to have a foot in reality. A lot of the album’s vocals pull from chant like inspiration or communal singing. It’s as much a study in the band evolving as collective music makers as it is in fantasy. The group dynamics have evolved in the group and the fresh collaborations and fewer harmonies than in previous endeavors work.
Moon 2 plays like an electric collection of ideas and different point of views, lulling the listener into a trippy groove, before pulling the proverbial rug out from under and changing directions, giving way to dissonance. Upbeat, percussion-driven “Deli Run” recounts the events of a weekend past for a friend who couldn’t make it out. It’s a track with shimmering electronics and 80’s style funk guitar that pays homage to the New York house party culture and FOMO. While in contrast, songs like “Set It Off” boldly treads into pop territory that feels more familiar. The listener is transported in another direction by the title track’s documentation of the up and down swings of a crush paired to the backdrop of reggae-infused bass and chirping synths.
The project is experimental, intelligent, intergalactic and pretty darn catchy. As a listener, you are never exactly sure where the album is going to take you, but you are definitely here for it.