Toronto-born, Los Angeles-based Betty Moon released last year her seventh album since she made her appearance on the music scene with 1991’s self-titled Betty Moon. Moon’s music was new to me, but not to all; it has been featured in a number of movies and television shows including Californication, Bounty Hunters, Last Gasp, and Dexter. Her latest, Pantomania, mixes rock, pop, and electronic sounds, creating an interesting auditory experience.
Moon puts her own signature on the two covers featured on it. While recognisable, Depeche Mode’s “It’s No Good” takes on enough of a unique twist in Moon’s version – titled “No Good” – to warrant a listen from fans. A hypnotic, throbbing, and slow electronic beat sets a dark tone, while the vocals channel early Madonna, what with tonality and sensuality. It’s a very 1980s track with a modern edge.
Her cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter”, however, is quite different than the original. It is slow and seems to welcome listeners into a private auditory bubble of sorts. Languid and sensual, it is sparsely layered, the instruments setting the scene for the vocals rather than the two playing as equals.
“Hunger Pants” isn’t a cover but deserves a mention at this point in the review as another track on the album with a classic rock feel to it. However, the way the vocals are digitally manipulated to sound a little muffled makes them a little inharmonious with the attitude of the instrumentation and main melody.
There is definitely a lot of attitude in this set. The slow tempo “Thunder” throbs throughout as it adds layer upon layer during its almost four-minute run. There is a certain lightness to “Feel the Pressure”, the beat of which has a hint of funk in it; the tune would fit well as a number played in a smoky lounge, especially because of the slow and almost dreamy vocals.
The toe-tapping “Come Into My Light” would work in other types of lounges, the ones frequented late nights by party-goers looking for a good time. There is something in this track about Moon’s vocals – threading in and out with a low key, yet mid-tempo and throbbing guitar and drum-led beat – that gives this track a feel of confusion and anxiety that comes with it. The electronic part of the beat that leads “Temple Diablo” and the shekere that can be heard throughout makes it a very 1970s song.
Pantomania makes for an interesting listen despite the fact that there does seem at times to be a little something missing, almost as if the album didn’t make it through the last stages of editing, be it sound, melody, or lyrical editing. Tracks are available for streaming on YouTube. More information about Betty Moon is available on her official website and her Facebook page.
Pictures provided by Working Brilliantly.