Criminal is the new release from industrial artist The Soft Moon. What sounds like the soundtrack to a nightmare is actually a detailed and explorative soundscape that is meant to sound jarring. Opening track “Burn” establishes the mood and tone with a driving rhythm, kicking off the record with a war driven purpose. Criminal is a haunting conversation of Luis Vasquez’s childhood, being involved with nefarious activities that still creep in his thoughts. With “Burn,” being the opening statement. The melodies brought forth on this are winding and extremely well paced.
“Like A Father” is a twisted, discordant tune that reels in a destructive nature. Over and over across the album Vasquez is jittery, escaping memories by retelling them within an abandoned landscape. Here the song is engrossed with the feelings of anger towards the father that left him, continuing into “The Pain” which begs the question “How can you love someone like me?” It’s a revealing line that perfectly accents the tortured atmosphere of Vasquez and The Soft Moon. The song is filled with a chaotic twitch but a bellowing and melodious bass line holds everything together, bellowing in the symphonic textures. “Born Into This” boats a loud, machine gun styled rhythmic pattern to start the track, diving into a simple groove that feels like an EDM dance song playing in a 80’s soundtrack. As the verses wrap together the vocals are hazy, giving a psychotic feel to the track. Ending title-track is a potent lyrical story with an emotional Vasquez delivering an enthralling vocal performance through mesmerizing instrumentals.
This industrial atmosphere is a rare genre that is accomplished so beautifully. This new release by Vasquez is a fulfilling release of cathartic music that revels in its depth. New Noise Magazine is pleased to bring forth the track by track of Criminal, with The Soft Moon engaged in opening up, this one is worth the read. Enjoy listening to the record in full below, as it is now available via Sacred Bones Records.
This was the first track I had written when embarking on what would be my fourth studio album, ‘Criminal’. I struggled for months not knowing where to begin, what direction to take the album, wether I wanted to go more electronic, more rock, more this, more that, less this, less that, etc. It wasn’t until I just let go that “Burn” came to fruition and the rest would unfold from there. It’s when I came to realizations about myself, the anger inside, the frustration, and the self hate. “Burn” set the tone for the entire record.
I created “Choke” as a theme song to my recurring corruptive behavior. It’s emblematic of my sleepless nights, wandering the streets of Berlin like some paranoid animal, while capturing the unbearable sound of my pulsating heart deep inside my chest. Full of ego and full of fear at the same time.
My first take on a love song and the last song I wrote that completed ‘Criminal’. I’ve struggled with what love is, and honestly like many of us, I still don’t know. One thing I’ve realized about myself as that I always sabotage what’s good for me, wether it’s health, a good career, family, and especially a loving relationship. With “Give Something” I’m admitting to all that. For the first time I’m expressing just how vulnerable I am without having love, and how I could destroy myself without it.
Like a Father
This was when I had a magical moment in the studio. I struggled for a few days with the lyrical content, the music itself had been completed and the structure was there, but I didn’t know what I wanted to say. It felt like this song was a step forward in my songwriting career, almost as if I was getting ahead of myself, therefore it really challenged me to try something new with my vocals, they needed to be on par with the progressiveness of the song itself. Finally, I ended up expressing a topic I thought I’d never reveal to the public, about not having a father figure in my life. Even my close friends growing up never knew I didn’t have a dad because I never spoke about it, and at the same time I actually never thought about it. In the end, I had an insane cathartic experience. It changed me inside.
I wrote this song towards the end. I felt as if I was expressing too much anger up to this point during the creation of ‘Criminal’ and it lacked balance. I needed to bring in more of my heart. I feel like these are the type of songs I do best. As with some of the other songs on this album, I’m expressing how I keep making the same mistakes, or how I can’t control my actions, and how I can’t trust myself. There’s usually a sense of hope amongst the sorrow with most of my music, but with “It Kills” I wanted to express complete devastation within an unconventional pop song structure.
I needed a break from all the heavy emotion and felt that perhaps the listener would also agree. Of course I write for myself but at the same time I always take the listener into consideration with every song I write. I felt the urge to be a bit more experimental, breakaway from any sort of convention, and at the same time bring in a little bit of a No Wave influence. I believe this track was birthed because of my four years living in Berlin.
A lot of people compliment on our live shows, so when creating “Young” I had that in mind. I had plans with this song to bring intensity on the stage. It’s interesting though because as I write this we have yet to rehearse it and I actually have no idea what it will be like in a live context. In terms of the actual meaning of “Young”, it’s one of the most confident and optimistic paths I’ve taken. I’m speaking about a future me eventually looking back at the person I was, the person I am right now.
Born Into This
My most angry song to date. It’s a big fuck you to judgement in general. My philosophy has always been to live and let live. I don’t believe in mistakes and I feel that everyone has the freedom to learn about themselves in their own way, through their own journey, in their own shoes. I’m not proud of many things I have done but I’m taking ownership with “Born Into This”.
The title track “Criminal” is full of guilt and it’s the complete opposite of the track before it “Born Into This”. Here is when I reach my ultimate low. I’m expressing how I really feel about the person I am, as a means to save myself in a desperate attempt. I felt it was important to end the album with this song because in the end, I feel I still have a lot of work to do on myself. It’s where I want to continue from on future recordings.