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Moon Duo: The Vision Of Punk's Fierce Futurists

Moon Duo's "When You Cut" begins with a hooky, almost cheery keyboard melody before plunging into stranger territory.
Courtesy of the artist
Moon Duo's "When You Cut" begins with a hooky, almost cheery keyboard melody before plunging into stranger territory.

When Ripley Johnson teamed with Sanae Yamada to form Moon Duo, the Wooden Shjips guitarist was interested in slimming down not just the number of participants in his music, but also the music itself. He and the keyboardist managed to file it down to keys, guitar and a whole mess of pedals. In keeping with their "less is more" credo, the new Mazes is likely to give the duo leverage among the sea of low-fidelity bands inhabiting San Francisco. Moon Duo has taken the dark vision of some of punk's fiercest futurists, namely Suicide and Royal Trux, and tightened it, adding in more groove to offset the lost rawness.

"When You Cut" is Mazes' dance number. It begins with a hooky, almost cheery keyboard melody before plunging into stranger territory, marked by smeared guitar reverb. That approach aligns perfectly with Johnson's creeping paranoia. "I feel the walls closing in on me," he repeats toward the song's end, just before the track convenes with an extended psychedelic guitar solo — an ambiguous, and therefore perfect, ending for our unreliable narrator.

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Erik Myers
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