Moon Halo’s debut album ‘Chroma’ comes from the creative minds of… Iain Jennings (Mostly Autumn)on keyboards, Marc Atkinson (Riversea) vocals and David Clements (Riversea) bass. With Alex Chromarty (ex-Mostly Autumn/Riversea) drums and Martin Ledger (Heather Findlay Band) on guitars. Guest Appearances from Anne-Marie Helder, Olivia Sparnenn-Josh, Janine Atkinson, Tammy Pawson and Micky Gibson.
One of the things I love about music is that when you think you’ve heard the best release of the year, another album comes along and knocks your conclusions right off the mantelpiece. Music should be ever evolving and changing that’s why, in my honest opinion, all great music is naturally progressive at heart.
I think what we want, and get, from music changes as we get older and change ourselves. I was a New Romantic in the 80’s and then became a Metalhead and Hard Rocker in the 90’s before blues and Prog Rock took my fancy into the new Millenium. I’ve listened to so much music over the years, some I have loved and some has disappointed me at a basic level.
Therefore, I can honestly say, it doesn’t matter what genre it is, good music will always be welcomed in my house.
Now I won’t hide the fact that Marc Atkinson is good friend of mine, he even sang at my 50th Birthday. I have followed him from his solo days through the wonderful Riversea and now bang up to date with Moon Halo and he has one of the greatest voices I have ever had the privilege of listening to.
Marc has got together with some like minded musical souls in Iain Jennings and David Clements and they have created a new musical project that is somewhat different to what they’ve all been involved in before.
‘Chroma’ is thirteen songs of perfectly crafted music with the honeyed tones of Marc’s vocals laid elegantly over the top. There is a focused energy and vibe to the album, an electrical charge that you feel flowing though you form the first track to the last.
The Web opens the record with a thoughtful and intensive feel, stylish and polished and you get the first taste of Martin Ledger‘s hefty prowess on the guitar, it soon becomes a signature throughout the album. Iain Jennings slick keyboard skills give Seize The Day a jazzy, funked up vibe that’s enhanced by the excellent backing vocals and edgy riffing. Croma is a wistful, sombre instrumental full of dignity and grace, I’m already finding that it doesn’t take long to get drawn into this rather tasty release and we’re only three songs in!
The heartfelt beauty of The Veil tugs at your heartstrings, Marc gives a vocal performance full of pain and sorrow and the guitar solo is just magnificent. There’s a an immediacy and bang up to date aura to the hard edged and rocky Parachute, a song that could grace the setlist of a Bryan Adams gig and one that puts a big grin on your face. Somebody Save Us is refined and stylish, full of lush layers of smmooth as you like music and overlaid by the, once-again, excellent vocals.
Moon Halo give us a brilliant rendition of modern R&B with the polished What’s Your Name, a song you find yourself quite happily dancing and singing along to as David Clements’ funky bass lines and Ledger’s pin sharp guitar drive it along. Stirring and soulful, Seventh Heaven is one of my favourite tracks on the album. There’s a tenderness to the vocals and an impassioned feel to the way the music is delivered. A moment of contemplation takes you as you listen to the plaintive backing vocals and dreamlike guitar, such a powerfully nostalgic song. 80’s dynamic keyboards open the brash, strident feeling Let Me Out, a track that adds bluster with it’s slap-bass rhythm and Kraftwerk-esque solo, hang on, who let Level 42 in the building?
The vibrant Awoken wouldn’t be amiss on one of Marc’s solo releases and then we are led into the final trio of songs by the epic feeling Across The Dark Divide, a refined, tasteful piece of music that has vitality and soul deep at its core. This feeling of individuality and substance flows into Rise Up, another modern soul and R&B track that wears its vivacity like the quintessential sharp suit.
All good things must come to an end and ‘Chroma’ is closed out by the superb Don’t Let It End Like This. At times tender and graceful, at others powerful and monumental, it is one of those songs that stands out as soon as you hear it. Mesmerising and anthemic, it certainly provides a perfect ending to the album and the guitar heavy play out is just inspired.
I love music for how it can surprise you, lift you up and seem to make the world a better place to be and it’s albums like ‘Chroma’ that continue to feed my passion. Moon Halo have painstakingly crafted and lovingly delivered a true musical work of art and one that immediately lifts your mood and salves your soul, you should buy this record as your world will be a better place for having it.
Released 13th January 2020
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