Creating music that can genuinely be described as ‘dreamlike’ is a risky business. Sail too far out into the ether and you can end up with the kind of enervated beauty that quickly turns to tedium.
Equally, dreams have a habit of occasionally becoming nightmares and it’s that submerged threat that seems to occasionally lie below the deceptively serene surface of Moon Rally and helps ensure this particular dreamworld never gets boring.
Nicole Faux Naiv’s history is one that carries the potential for a musical creation that mixes cultures, languages, and genres. Currently a Berlin native but drawing inspiration from her Russian/German roots rather than her current location, she blends her formative influences (two songs are in Russian) with the here and now and the results are often spellbinding. Repeated listens reinforce the feeling that this is an artist relishing the opportunity to reveal something of herself through her music which means there’s style and substance.
Evidence of potential fulfilled comes quickly as an underlying Lynchian tension weaves it’s way through the woozy title track, resonant bass notes run deep, with what sounds like a harpsichord framing a song about the titular Moon Rally which feels increasingly sinister as it progresses.
Elsewhere there’s a haunted fun fair feel to songs like the drily titled, “Tomorrow Was a Summer Day in 2001”. While the gloriously deadpan “Empty Summer” channels elements of “Lullaby” era Cure as if remixed by Air, successfully drawing a vivid picture of seasonal ennui on a day when boredom seems to stretch to infinity.
Naiv achieves all of this via a seamless mix of synthetic and acoustic instrumentation that helps lift her much more than promising debut out of the ranks of competent, but often bland, bedroom dream pop that clutters up the corners of Bandcamp. Inhabiting a similar hall of mirrors as Charlotte Gainsbourg’s 2006 gem 5:55, Moon Rally is that often elusive thing: a dream worth having.