Friday, June 19, 2009

(Moon)Light Powered

(Ghostly International)
Press play and don't plan on stopping once you do. Deastro, aka Randolph Chabot and a trio of new recruits to back him, finds a nearly exhausting athletic pace at the start of his debut for Ghostly International and never lets up for the duration of 14 songs.

Chabot based some of the music on a dream he had, and the whirring electronics and running-paced rhythms reflect that indefinable urgency only dreams create. It's as if he wants listeners to just keep moving with him, whether that movement be dancing or something even more fanciful.

Shimmering waves of synthesizer -- big, square-wave squeals and peals -- roll over simple bass lines and crash into keyboard passages that bounce and chime. Chabot's distant-sounding, but finely delivered vocals and some crisp rhythm guitar add human warmth to Moondagger, especially "Toxic Crusaders" and "Day of Wonder," where the drum kit makes clear that real people are behind every note here.

No obvious candidate for a single stands out, though Ghostly put "Parallelogram" and "Vermillion Plaza" out ahead of the LP. However, given our collective drunkenness on MP3s and a tendency to discard before we've properly digested, just so we can run to the next pretty sound, is an album worth playing from start to finish a bad thing?

If Chabot did anything wrong with Moondagger, it's that he doesn't give us a chance to rest before another song demands action.

Reference material: Chabot's voice, and his restless electronic pop sounds, recall New Order's Low-Life and Brotherhood. [Note to the uninitiated: Please get those albums.] Fans of MGMT wanting to stretch out a bit, or White Williams fans looking for something a little more energetic, should hear Deastro too.