'Trustblood' Review: H MOON's debut album plays on the string that binds the physical and the spiritual
Swedish musician, songwriter and composer Philip Ekström is set to debut his solo studio album, 'Trustblood', on May 22 under the alias H MOON. Ekström is also known for his works with bands The Mary Onettes and Det Vackra Livet.
H MOON and the new LP are birthed during the time when Ekström worked on the score for the American feature film 'Endings, Beginnings' (directed by Drake Doremus). The romantic drama is a story on break-ups and separation, which inspired Ekström, who was going through similar experiences at the time, to begin his solo LP. A press release statement reveals that he could tap into the creativity he got from writing the score: adding lyrics to the leftover tracks from the score, which grew into the fruition of H MOON.
The album follows the release of the first single 'Devotion' as well as 'Back To Where It Hurts' and the title track.
'Trustblood' appears to hover over the similar bittersweet numbness of Coldplay's earlier songs with 'Parachutes', only more ambient, and H MOON's vocals are strikingly similar to Chris Martin's. H. MOON describes the songs as "small dark melodic ghosts from his soul." If there is a location that lies between physical and spiritual realms, 'Trustblood' dwells there and plays the string that binds them.
The first and title track, released May 12, ushers in the album's heartbeat. A steady rhythm pulsates over sustained synth strings as Ekström sings, "Did you forget to put your faith in this blood? Did you forget to put your trust in this blood"; reminding fading emotions to tether to life.
Death, life, separation, and the broken feelings that remind us of our humanity are a common thread in the solo LP. In the love song 'Back To Where It Hurts', MOON translates the darkness of being trapped while sonically creating a third-person sense of distancing from pain. "I had the feeling there's a chain around my heart. Are we close to the dead, close to the dead?" sings MOON and adds "Are we back to where it all began? Are we back to where it hurts?" in the chorus of this ambiguously-toned track.
An air of sadness weighs in on the album at moments, but 'Trustblood' doesn't let you fall. In 'DD', Ekström proves his musicianship and commitment to art without saying too much. This instrumental track subtly lifts the gloomy chord structures to an unboasting lightness. Harp plays like water drops over reverberated organ: a musical quench of thirst for the hopeful.
In 'Sparks Of An End,' MOON drives at a mid-tempo pace over brassy synth, looking back at pain before turning to a clearer path. "You take me to where you've been. Fade into a madness, but I won't be joining in. I can't do it one more time. I just want to run from it, even though you hold my heart," he sings before the uplifted chorus with, "It is coming to an end. It is coming to an end. I wanna know where I can start again."
'Trustblood' is a beautifully-mixed album of pain with the enchanting and indistinct call to happiness. For those unsure of how to let it all out, unsure of how to move on, H MOON's new album hits the right notes and comes as a highly recommended companion to your sorrows.