MOULETTES – Preternatural (Craft Pop Records CRAFTPOP1CD)

PreternaturalI was fortunate enough to hear Moulettes preview some of Preternatural live last year and even more fortunate to grab a word or two with Ruth Skipper after the set. I confessed that, while I loved the band’s sound, I didn’t always know what they were about. With alarming candour Ruth admitted that sometimes she didn’t either! I felt better then.

And so we again dive into the Moulettes’ strange world with their fourth album, which is inspired by “strange beasts”. I’ll say right now it sounds wonderful, big and powerful, multi-layered instruments and voices delivering a real smack to the musical psyche. The opening track is ‘Behemooth’, which has been circulating as a video for a while. It starts with some words from what sounds like an over-excited American film trailer of the 50s giving a feeling of otherness from the off. With two synths and a Moog player in the line-up, the record is awash with strange sounds and it can feel that newest member Raevennan Husbandes is the grounding influence. She plays guitar and takes lead vocal on some tracks and shares harmonies with Hannah Miller and Ruth as well as some percussion.

Ollie Austin’s drums drive the music, giving a solid foundation to the welter of sounds being produced around him – and by him: he also plays guitar and synth. The album washes over you in powerful waves and the lyrics are sometimes hard to pick out, particularly with subjects like ‘Pufferfish Love’, ‘Medusa’ and ‘Parasite’. There isn’t a conventional frame of reference. “I was born curious” is a repeated line in ‘Rite Of Passage’ and it seems to me that it can be interpreted in two ways while ‘Coral’ is perhaps the most straightforward song – “We are the force of nature we cannot control” tells it like it is. The final song, ‘Silk’, is another standout track. I think it’s about spiders.

I really like Preternatural but I admit that I’m several more plays away from fully understanding it. And I will say to anyone who has not yet had the pleasure that there is no substitute for hearing Moulettes live on stage.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ website:

‘Behemooth’ – live studio version: