The more you listen to Moonheart, the more their sound eludes you. Zoom in on Kim Mayo’s melodies and guitar parts in isolation, and you’ll discover some Kate Bush tinged in a little Bjork, mixed with an occasional note of neo-soul. In combination with producer Michael Sachs, though, the second half of the duo, Mayo’s songwriting transforms into more ethereal shapes, her beautiful voice made even more haunting with added reverb and echoing synths. In the three songs on Moonheart’s new EP, Blow, the pair creates electronic folk that transfixes the listener, even while slipping through her fingers.
Beginning with “These Days,” Moonheart combines unlikely elements to weave a lush-seeming song that belies its simplicity. Comprised of vocals, a bright guitar, straightforward drum loops, and a couple synths, it flows forward smoothly, pulling you in with its melancholy vibe more than its meaning. The moments when its lyrics come into focus are powerful, though (“Too many times by accident / I’d expose my lovers to a bitter wind / They weren’t dressed for”). The second song, “Joï”—a sparser, slower track—crystallizes more immediately around Mayo’s voice and a deeper, buzzier guitar sound, but it is equally dreamy (“Tell me all about the stars again”). Last, “Blow” is the EP’s most sumptuous track, but also its most elusive. The vocals jump around, showing Mayo’s range, and while the first two songs feature recognizable beats, Sachs uses percussion more creatively in the final song, propelling it gently forward to the last, satisfying fadeout. Blow may not be the kind of album you can fully grasp, but it offers plenty in the attempt.