The music of Canadian indie-rock group Supermoon is built from elements so delicately stacked it seems a cool breeze might knock them over. You want to catch the sound in a butterfly net, put it in a glass jar and keep it safely tucked on a shelf.
“It’s pretty poppy with a dark undertone,” says Supermoon multi-instrumentalist Adrienne LaBelle, describing the band’s new release Playland. The album is out this month on Mint Records.
Central to Playland is the jangly, fluid and clear guitar work of Katie Gravestock. Gravestock knows just when to add the right amount of atmospheric dirty fuzz and feedback, like in the noisy denouement of “Bottleships” or in the gritty kick-off to the surf rock-inspired “Stories We Tell Ourselves About Ourselves.”
Beneath it all, metronomic bass and drums build otherworldly but childlike grooves, recalling New Zealand bands like The Chills or other acts from the catalogue of legendary record label Flying Nun. The band shares vocal duties, with Alie Lynch singing most of the tunes, and lately, LaBelle says, the band has been experimenting with switching instruments.
LaBelle describes Supermoon as inspired by Joy Division; you can hear the influence of the immortal English band in Playland’s economical, dry production and minimal arrangements. However, while Joy Division signaled relentless and foreboding doom, Supermoon are sweetly melancholic and romantically optimistic, particularly in Playland’s endearingly bummed-out vocal work.
“We try and write short, catchy songs, but we never want them to be too sweet or too happy,” LaBelle says, adding, “we like the juxtaposition of dark lyrical content with happy pop songs — short, catchy pop songs that leave you scratching your head if you listen closely enough.”
Supermoon play with Eugene’s Glass Cat 9 pm Monday, May 23, at Old Nick’s; FREE, 21-plus.