“I've been sober for a year today,” Sean Solomon, Moaning’s frontman, wrote on Instagram last year. “I am finally finding happiness.”
Solomon’s new-found perspective on life is at the heart of ‘Uneasy Laughter’, the band’s second album on Sub Pop, which marks a stylistic shift away from the nihilistic post-punk of their debut towards introspective new wave. While their debut grappled with muddled matters of the heart without ever reaching a conclusion, here Solomon puts his moral compass to the test. From infectious single ‘Ego’ and to sobering dream pop song ‘Connect The Dots’, his determination to look for solace beyond right and wrong is palpable. We believe he is riddled with guilt – and that is a testament to Solomon’s talent.
By comparison, the second half of ‘Uneasy Laughter’ is almost void of internal conflict, even if it remains melodically accomplished: ‘What Separates Us’ and ‘Saving Face’ are a little bland but it’s impossible to turn down the voice of Interpol’s Paul Banks inside your head during the chorus of ‘Keep Out’.
Moaning belong to a fresh generation of musicians whose sense of moral responsibility extends outside their immediate circle and wider scene. What they want is neither to burn out nor fade away, and it’s written all over ‘Uneasy Laughter’.
Words: Eero Holi
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