Betty Moon’s fifth full-length record, Amourphous, opens up with a titular spanning soundscape through which Moon tiptoes gently and masterfully. The dreamlike opener instills promise for the rest of the record, a promise on which Moon ultimately fails to deliver.
The following track, “Powerlines,” takes a sudden departure from the gentle opener. Sounding more traditionally rock and roll track, complete with a power chord led bridge and all. The real issue with Powerlines comes with Moon’s vocals, rather than feeling at place with the instrumental, they come across as out of touch with everything else going on within the track.
This issue unfortunately carries throughout the album, on tracks such as “Ladder,” a track on which Moon struggles to find her footing. The intro, which consists of a dual guitar and piano riff, is enjoyable up until the point at which Moon’s effect-drenched vocals condemn the track once again.
This is not to say that the entire project is a waste, as mentioned before, Moon and her band do achieve to create tracks in which Moon’s voice integrates well enough to create a solid atmosphere. “Time to Move On,” is one of those instances, standing as a moment of tranquility, which eventually breaks into a chorus of Moon’s voice over crystalline guitar.
Amourphous is hesitant to dedicate itself to a single style, as it flip-flops between half-baked rock anthems plagued with vocals that sound more at home on a demo as opposed to a mastered and final record. The other side of Amourphous is a bit more toned down, a series of soundscapes that truly showcase Moon’s talents by promoting solidarity between voice and instrument as opposed to a awkward marriage of the two, Moon’s voice comes across as supplemental rather than feeling tacked on after the fact.
As the album concludes, Moon manages to create another highlight in the track “Valentine,” it reprises the motif of dreamlike soundscapes and adds a sense of wistfulness.
While Moon’s love for rock and roll is evident throughout Amourphous, it’s undeniable that the highlights of the record are coincidentally the tracks that stray from the traditions of the genre. During the moments that Moon isn’t attempting to rehash what has been done by greater minds in the past, she is able to create fresh and enthralling tracks. However, the latter unfortunately makes up the minority of Amourphous.
–review by CARLOS NAVA