Nacosta – Under the Half Moon

by Garrad Lee

Los Angeles based band, Nacosta, channels their influences with clarity on the debut full­-length album, Under the Half Moon. That is not necessarily a bad thing, considering they are proficient in melding their numerous influences into something that, while not wholly novel, is fun to listen to and quite catchy.

These alternating moments show Nacosta’s competence in reinterpreting their core musical philosophies into songs that challenge the listener, but are not disconcerting.

The obvious things that stick out about Under the Half Moon are the references to 60’s psychedelic rock and 90’s fuzzy noise pop. A good number of bands have grabbed hold of each of these waves in the past few years, with varying degrees of success. At their best, those bands can sound like a fresh take on beloved genre, and at their worst, they can sound like a complete rip­off. What keeps Nacosta out of the latter classification is their penchant to veer into weirder territory with their songs, via multi­instrumentation and the use of electronics to provide a layer of atmospherics that ties the tunes on the record together into a cohesive whole. “14 Feet“ works particularly well in this regard: a glitchy drumbeat is grounded with fairly straightforward piano licks and airy psych­pop vocals, all over a layer of trippy synth that holds it all together during its builds and drops. “Paradise Coughs“ and “Folie a Deux“ are both a bit more upbeat, with jangly guitars and melodies that sound like what might happen if the Beatles were reincarnated as Pavement with samplers. That may be an oversimplification, however, it works as a description of the band’s more sanguine sounding songs. Other tracks, like “All the Colors,” maintain a similar pop sensibility, while also allowing the band to get a little further out there, in a psychedelic sense. These alternating moments show Nacosta’s competence in reinterpreting their core musical philosophies into songs that challenge the listener, but are not disconcerting.

Under the Half Moon will be a great record to put on during those early days of spring, when the hope of sunnier days are tempered by those still­-cool evenings, the evenings that generate happiness and thoughts of being able to shed our winter coats and let the warmth soak in once again.

www.nacosta.com

Garrad Lee