Published Jul 22, 2020The music of Hello Moth is experimental electropop traversing styles but in an accessible way, aiming to take hold of the listener's senses and transport them through the real and otherworldly. When the Sky Melted, the third album by the Calgary-based producer and artist, feels their most cinematic. Hello Moth has a way of singing that's dramatic but harmless, with the words clearly enunciated in a way that's like narrating a children's story.
There isn't anything innocent about the context of the songs though. In "Inside," misery is mixed with energized emotion — a blend of synths and strings and crashing drumbeat. "Wanted to Tell You" is haunting and slow-moving, with a subtle build-up to a climatic ending. Lyrically, there's also a theme of isolation, notably in "Times Like This," that alludes to either being by oneself or enclosed in a sense of unending routine with somebody else. These are songs that seem apt for times of lockdown and social distancing, when a sense of claustrophobic doom was suddenly thrust upon the world.
Similarly, other tracks seem to highlight the environment and being lost in the state of the world, references to nature integrated with personal insecurity. "Gusts of water, floods of wind / Caress this world within a world in hiding / Gusts are all we feel / Unending things are barely real," Hello Moth sings on "Canyons (Acoustic)," an acoustic track with strings for added folkiness, while the lyrics of "All Day All Night" are the words of the title in a continuous loop, echoing and ringing like voices in your head.
"Midnight News" initially seems joyful, with lyrics that skip along with an accompanying beat. Then the chorus comes and a seriousness takes over again, conveying a desperation for wanting to find the truth when there's so much fiction blended in. In "To Be Reached" and "Footprints," Gameboy sounds bleep and bloop along, a background playfulness to the darkened uncertainty that's layered on top.
"Lucid Dream (Mothapella Mix)" and "Stereo" perhaps sum up When the Sky Melted best. The former is mesmeric and melancholic while drawing upon the need for a dreaminess in times of darkness: "There's a lucid dream to guide us along / To the clear of the night where we belong." The latter is more danceable but wistful. "Troubles will come and go / Life is a broken stereo," Hello Moth suggests, as the though the outside world can become distorted when stuck inside, and as though sounds are needed (musical and conversational) in order to get us through. (Independent)