When The Sky Melted
Like we’ve said so many times on the podcast, life rewards you for showing up early to shows. Such was the case at the 2015 installment of Terminus Festival, when those of us who’d arrived in time where treated to a set of haunting, affecting vocal pop from one-person act Hello Moth. Hearkening back to middle school daydreams but also distinctly odd in a fresh and new way, the material from Hello Moth’s first LP left a mark on a politely assembled clutch of goths and rivetheads who’d likely only crawled out of bed a few hours previous. Hello Moth’s been a part of the Terminus family ever since (the video for “Lucid Dream”, the now beloved Glass Apple Bonzai collab was shot during the fest and featured attendees as extras) and by extension dark music in Canada, despite there being very little that’s, well, dark about Hello Moth’s music.
New LP When The Sky Melted doesn’t break from that tradition, but the range of pop styles and influences brought to bear across a tight 30-odd minutes dips into alternately deep and dramatic synthpop and confessional acoustics should pluck at even the most jaded noise addict’s heartstrings. The conversational and whimsical tone of tracks like “Inside” and “Canyons” recall both a time before “alternative” invariably meant distortion pedals and substandard Vedder imitation, and have a naked and heartfelt delivery almost never encountered by those of us still panning for gold in the slag of neofolk.
It’s not all acoustic or folktronic frailty, though. From their beginnings until now Hello Moth has proven to be an electronically omnivorous entity, and whatever throwback song structures When The Sky Melted might have are balanced by more recent instrumentations. Heads should be able to trace affinities with Kite (the dramatically arranged vocal interlude of “All Day All Night”) or The Knife (“Wanted To Tell You”), as well as more broadly celebrated expressions of electronic pop, like the hints of Charli XCX’s cozy digitalism found on “To Be Reached” and “Footprints”.
Finishing things off with a warped acapella version of “Lucid Dream”, When The Sky Melted victory laps on the strength of Hello Moth’s vocals which ultimately remain the project’s selling point. The record’s highlight, “Times Like This”, flips between sweet non-lexical nothings and out-of-luck loneliness that feels far too poignant in our current situation. It’s someone both singing your unspoken thoughts and thanking you for sharing them. Sometimes, just sometimes, pop music does make things better.