In a music industry dominated by armies of bubbly girls and boys with overstyled hair, moumoon dares to make a stand and put out their own brand of pop music. While Idols may rule in Japan, there’s still plenty of room for plain old good music. So hot off the presses in Japan, the duo has just released their third full length album No Night Land.
While last year’s 15 Doors felt a lot more whimsical and playful, this record has a much stronger presence. It’s full of powerful, driving pop numbers. Songs like JET COASTER and Yes/No Continue? come out of the speaker with a lot more force than anything off of moumoon’s previous albums. I have a feeling the composing half of the duo, Masaki Kousuke, has been experimenting with different production techniques. Interestingly enough, experimentation for these two lead the listener into more traditional pop music stylings while another group’s experimentation might result in moumoon’s natural sound. This mucking around might be most prevalent on Bon Appetit which is rife with electropop touches and dance club undertones. Despite moumoon’s bold energy, that light hearted dreamy sound that I’ve come to associate with them is still there. Tracks like TOMODACHI/KOIBITO, Butterfly Effect and advance single Uta wo Utaou are full of twinkling synths, light melodies strummed on acoustic guitars and good-humored piano lines. Lounge worthy I found love. is smooth and velvety with a certain piano bar fog around it; piano, simple drums, accenting bass and sultry horns sweep through the song.
While Masaki Kousuke is definitely a composer/producer to be reckoned with, you cannot discount the talent that vocalist Yuka brings to the table. Her voice is full and strong, but at the same time sweet and with a definitive and unique tone to it. Masaki knows just how to work the music around Yuka’s vocals to buoy the richness in her notes and build even more character into each song. He’s done it well with their signature floaty sound over the years and on this album he does it just as well with more powerful pop songs.
In less than a year, moumoon was able to sign themselves to a deal with Avex. Since then it’s been a long road for them, but only 2 years ago they were barely cracking onto the Oricon chart. Having followed them since their indie days, I can tell you that the duo has been hard at work creating beautiful, well crafted pop music. I look forward to moumoon releases because not once have I listened to one of their songs and wondered why they felt the need to make it. Quite possibly a sleeper favorite of many, moumoon stands to dominate what some might consider a niche market: pop music that isn’t made by young men dancing about or girls in bikinis, pop music that feels more sophisticated and a step above your normal brand of overproduced pop tunes. No Night Land is a strong pop album, full of catchy, head-bobbing tunes. Masaki and Yuka continue to shine in an industry where they are a minority. I only hope they’re not annexed by the next influx of Idol takeovers.
No Night Land
01. Chu Chu
02. Yes / No continue?
04. Butterfly Effect
06. I found love.
08. Bon Appetit
09. We go
10. good night (studio live recording)
Purchase moumoon’s No Night Land here!