Sometimes the term ‘genius’ is thrown about far too much, but sometimes it is needed. Sometimes it is the only word to use. It’s a word that undoubtedly fits Luis Vasquez aka The Soft Moon. With his record, Criminal out today via the equally brilliant Sacred Bones Records, I think it is pretty safe and accurate to say that Luis is a genius.

It’s probably been said but Criminal is his best work. As someone who has been a fan of The Soft Moon since the very start and holds some sentimental value to previous records- Criminal has taken over. It is truly one of the most powerful and magical records I’ll hear all year, that I am sure of. I love how every song feels like white noise taking over your brain and how his words eat at you. There is something so brutal and delicate about this record that holds your attention hours after you have listened to it. It stays with you and leaves an impact you have been craving for so long.

Something I really admire about Luis’ delivery of lyrics is that for the most part, they are unclear but the tone in his voice gives away just how urgent the meaning is. He has this way of just getting to the root of it all with the way he sings these words rather than what he is saying. His voice is the rumble of a thunderstorm and the music is the lightning bolt crashing down.

Criminal has really shown the strength in his ability to make music that can hit you right in the gut. It is such a perfect record, and it seems totally right that it has been released on Sacred Bones. The style of this record has the same wave of horror pouring through it like Pop.1280 which is something I absolutely adore. Pop.1280 make straight up sinister music that could scare anyone. It’s got this attractive evil and eerie sound that you cannot tear yourself from. The Soft Moon has a sound that does evoke some horror and terror, but it also carries this fragility to it. You know that these songs have come from a delicate, raw and very honest place- and I think that’s what makes it such a beautiful record. I love the aggression and vulnerability in Born Into This, and right now I think it’s my favourite but I’ll change my mind soon enough. Records like this aren’t made for you to favour one song over the rest. It is made for you to cherish each and every song in a way that is personal to you.

On this record there is definitely a shift in sound and style, and I think any band or singer that does this is to be respected. There is nothing worse than a band/singer making the same record over and over again, and not even attempting to experiment. I don’t get it at all. The best thing, as a music fan, is when a band you love just changing with each record. The bands I write about, the bands I go see at shows, the bands I love- they all do this. They all make records that sound different but keeping something similar in a way that lets you know that it is them.

I’m sure it’ll be picked up on but Criminal reminds me of the first Nine Inch Nails record mixed with Cold Cave. So basically, it is the perfect record. It’s got everything you need to comfort you and to keep you going. I reckon it is one of those records that will be talked about in years and years to come. It has something about it that you cannot love, and as a HUGE fan of The Soft Moon, it just makes you so proud of him and all he has done so far, and especially on this record. There is something here that cannot ever be replicated nor can it go unheard. It’s one of those records that when you hear it, you’ll want to turn everyone on to it. It is an absolute pleasure and joy to listen to.

It is made of moments that allow you to just be. Be whatever the hell you want, and the best song to do this to is Give Something. Everything about this song just resonates with you.

Criminal is just a fantastic record from start to finish. It’s a record that you’ll carry with you for a long time, and in some respects it may become your shield and saviour.

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