Moulettes open their third album, Constellations, with the line: “It will be a glorious year, I can feel it in my fingers” and indeed with such a unique and ambitions album, the five-piece band should have a very exciting year ahead of them. Constellations is ten songs long and incorporates influences from pop, folk, electronic, rock and classical music – to name a few. Their sound is theatrical, mystical and highly immersive.
True to the album-title’s starry connotations, the opening-tracks ‘Glorious Year’ and ‘Constellations’ are poppy, outlandish, and accompanied by plenty of twinkling. However, part of what makes the album so entrancing is its unpredictability. After the optimistic and catchy opening, the tone changes dramatically and spirals down into a very different, darker place. Here, mechanical and dramatic songs like ‘Lady Vengeance’ and ‘Keep It As A Memory’ echo the notes of an apocalypse.
The ominous tone lingers, but the journey swiftly moves on to new places where tracks like ‘The Night Is Young’ and ‘The Land Of The Midnight Sun’ await. The former is a carnival-esque waltz, and the latter a fable-like hymn consisting of angelic harmonies and a harp. On occasion, the collision of styles results in a lack of direction, but this is a minor problem. Most songs stand strong on their own, and the dark undertones remain as a constant thread tying them together.
On a purely technical level ‘Constellations’ is incredibly impressive. While Hannah Miller leads, they all sing, and between the five band-members they play twelve instruments, so with guests like Arthur Brown and The Unthanks taking part, grand and elaborate arrangements are to be expected. It is a brave move, and it pays off. The orchestrations are executed with grace, and they are a joy to listen to.
Although Moulettes’ personal stamp is all over this album, the quintet has taken quite a leap from their previous projects. Constellations promotes a more intricate and experimental sound than its predecessors: Moulettes (2010) and The Bear’s Revenge (2012). An excellent album, that will hopefully serve its creators well.