Breathy vocals and stylish production join forces with addictive contemporary songwriting for this smooth yet emotionally relevant new EP from Aras Moon.
Kicking into gear with a creatively jazz-led, trip-hop-kissed soundscape and relentless yet gentle vocal line, Runaway Child introduces the project and indeed the artist in a likeable, just left of the expected manner. There’s a clear personality at play, artistically and lyrically, and this helps the lyrics and the underlying mood connect in a lasting way.
Say My Name follows and already eclecticism stands tall. Another creative soundscape, unpredictable yet satisfying as it rains down around you. Raspy, gentle vocals lay bare an intimate story-line, and meanwhile the various sections of the ambiance and set-up paint colourful images and offer up a likeable, immersive vibe. Aras Moon is a master of lyrical outpourings and multiple flows, and the production on this project manages to all at once compliment this trait and be engaging in and of itself.
Destiny Island stands out as the mid-EP track for its quickly addictive, mainstream-style melody and simplicity. A smooth groove, a trap-style beat but gentle in nature, a rising and falling melody – there’s an accessible, modern feel to the progression, yet still we get that notably personal, uninhibited writing style, allowing the whole thing to feel authentic and honest.
Waiting On You takes things in another new direction. A joyful melody, a fine use of poetry, and an almost pop-punk meets electro-pop core that effectively lights up a whole new side to the artist. Earlier moments on the EP suggested a slight alternative influence – Dominic Fike comes to mind more recently – and this song definitely reinforces that creative optimism and uninhibited writing style. A personal highlight, with a brilliantly uplifting hook.
At the final hurdle, Not Around Me takes things back to the simple, contemporary sound of hip hop and RnB. The soundscape feels comforting, easy-going and familiar, those breathy vocals return to lead with a laid-back, freestyle kind of expression. The contrast between this and the former track works well to allow these closing moments to calm the listener. It also highlights yet again how truly versatile Aras Moon is.
Great vocals, superb production, and a respectable level of openness and personal truth. Rain Check is a mood of its own, and seems well-suited to the late-night escapism we’ve all been needing throughout 2020.