Two years ago, Monster Movie's debut release Last Night Something Happened came out of nowhere and completely stuck in my head. With former members of the group Slowdive taking the reigns, it was an electronic pop gem that had catchy hooks, great multi-part vocal melodies and a pop aesthetic that worked well without being too glossy. To The Moon is the full-length follow-up from the group (they also released a split EP with Dreamend) and unfortunately it doesn't quite reach the same giddy heights as the debut.
It's hard to put a finger on why the second album isn't quite the revelation that their first disc was, but it probably partially comes back to the fact that the group simply feels like it's in a bit of a rut most of the time. While their are attempts at a drastic change, most of the time they simply feel very out-of-place on the disc (like the noisy squeals of "Good Grief"). Still, the group does seem to settle into a groove during certain points and it's at those times where they create some of the best work they've ever done.
After a couple fairly plain opening tracks and a decent track that already appeared on the aforementioned split EP ("Beautiful Arctic Star"), the group drops the lovely instrumental of "From A Distance." Mixing chimes, strummed guitars and a slowly-building haze of shimmering noise, the track feels like the acoustic cousin of M83 while "Colder Days" opts for the guitar again over the synth and the warm plucks offset the two-part vocals perfectly. Another album best-of is "Out Of Touch," a track that drifts between stripped-down and sweepingly epic. The fuzzed-out and rocking closer of "1950da" shows a completely new wrinkle to the group that's exciting as well. Although the album starts out on a rather familiar note, To The Moon aptly seems to pick up steam as it moves along (mainly in terms of song, although the closer certainly turns up the volume as well). A somewhat mixed-bag of an album, this is a group that obviously still has some twists left.