by Dalvin Aboagye (@dalvinandhobbes)
After a three-year hiatus, Ava Luna is strolling back into the spotlight with a strong return in the form of their latest LP Moon 2. Moon 2 sees the Brooklyn-based indie rock group maintaining a stable position in an increasingly diverse and crowded lot of genre-bending acts. The past several years has seen the rise of other sonically strange supergroups that casually toss around opposing genre elements. While at times it sounds as if Ava Luna is trying their best to flank others like Hiatus Kaiyote, you quickly realize this assumption to be false. Moon 2 works off of the template set by 2015’s Infinite House. In doing so, it triumphantly puts the group in their own lane. In the hands of the five person outfit, a disparate collection of ingredients is measured and mixed in such a way to create the musical equivalent of some complicated confection.
The first two tracks, “Accessible” and “Centerline,” help familiarize us with a style that lingers on through the other ten tracks. Each melody and beat is consequential, displaying a preference for restraint over indulgence. Their proficiency doesn’t come as a shock when you take into account the multiple roles each member has. Vocalists Felicia Douglass and Rebecca Kauffman find their voices amplified by the production, all while backing it all up with some keyboard work. Vocalist and guitar player Carlos Hernandez fills in some of the gaps with bass guitarist Ethan Bassford following suit. Underneath every track, a sturdy frame is built by drummer Julian Fader that provides some much needed stability. The chemistry between all of them is undeniable. There’s a sense of camaraderie that’s evenly spread out among all the songs.
A quick listen to “Mine” or “Deli Run” is all you need to witness the cohesion. It’s difficult to put them in any specific grouping in terms of genre. They wear their influences on their sleeve so much so that they almost reach throwback status. The polished production and affinity for synthesizers sounds like a thoughtful shot at new-wave revivalism. “Centerline” is as good of a nostalgia trip as any. The care taken in accomplishing this is enough to make Depeche Mode stans perk up. Thankfully, this never comes at the cost of individuality.