I’ve been finding music this year that is different. For as crappy as this year has been, that is exactly what I want and need. My latest find is the debut from MØAA. The album is called “Euphoric Recall” and it released on April 2nd.
MØAA, which is named after the MAO-A or “warrior” gene, appears to be a solo project from musician Jancy Buffington of Seattle, Washington. She has since relocated to Venice, Italy. Jancy plays all of the instruments here along with collaborator Andrea Volpato, who also produced and mixed the album. This is definitely an indie project, and it is all the better for it.
The music here is basically Gothic indie rock, which isn’t something you see every day. It crosses into genres such as darkwave, ambient, shoegaze, dream pop, and alternative, and it flows like a hazy river through all of these sounds with elegance and haunting aura. Some of the songs have more of a rock vibe, often leaning towards the pseudo-classic rock sound of many indie rock bands, but other songs border on drone and ambient or cyberwave. It is a great sound, one that I have come to relish.
One thing that has attracted me to this album is Jancy’s uncompromising vision. I feel like she would have been produced into a proverbial cage had she been signed with a big label. Instead, she injects all sorts of crazy noises and vocal tones, never feeling the need to be overly accessible. Don’t get me wrong: the music is beautiful, catchy at times, and striking, but there are elements, such as Jancy’s baritone droning vocals on some tracks, that I feel would have been cut by a more commercial production. This album wouldn’t be nearly as vivid or glowing without Jancy’s clear vision.
“Euphoric Recall” isn’t a long record, coming in at 34 minutes or so, and having 10 tracks. It doesn’t overdo what it does so well. With its ominous, dark atmosphere as a foundation, the album takes us through obscure corridors, hazy dreams, and rhythmic rituals that will unnerve us to some extent, just as much as it pleases us.
MØAA released two singles, and they are both great. “Exist” is the opener with its hazy harmonies and rock beat. “X Marks” is even better. It has a shoegaze aura to it, and I love the catchy chorus and hushed vocals. Overall, these two songs are a great introduction to the project.
There are even better songs on the record, though. “O2” is a guitar-heavy track with floating harmonies. “Tracer” is similar, but with more of a creep factor added. “Night Vision” and “Don’t Mind” have an ethereal drive to them that I really like, and Jancy’s vocals are amazing on them both. Overall, though, the songs can often feel very much alike, which I think does subtract from the effectiveness. It can get a little “same-y” as the album progresses, though the music is always gorgeous. So, like any debut, there are weaknesses here, but not that many.
I would say my favorites overall are “Dilate” and “Diffuse”. The former has a nice ambience to it and Jancy’s droning vocals are probably the best here. I really like the eerie effect. “Diffuse” is the album closer, and I like the finality in its sound. The last half is mostly instrumental and it gives a tapering feeling that is perfect to end the album.
MØAA has a unique sound, and I really like it. I think that building on this rock solid foundation will be her goal going forward, and I’m excited to see the results. If you want something different, interesting, and striking, look no further.
Find MØAA online: