Thee Moths’ Peace Flag is avant-garde electronica at it’s most abstract. The pet project of Wolverhampton visual artist Alex Botten, Thee Moths is an audible powerhouse that surrounds the listener with subtle, chirpy electro-misdirection before inevitably cutting through the static with a synthetic pulse.
Working solo- and working pretty furiously from the sound of it, Botten has crafted an album as ultimately rewarding as it is alienating- with an intriguing balance of mystique and indirect rhythm. To effectively dwell within the experience, Peace Flag demands a solid set of earphones. Many of the tracks– especially in the first half- act as tantalizing suggestions for a more direct musical approach that refuses to form. Percussion and orchestral swells stomp into the room before either tiptoeing away or fragmenting completely. With the self-titled eighth track, the album shifts into its second half with acoustic distortion. By the time the album closes with “I Will Come Home” and the lullaby-esque melody “Evening Light”- Botten has fully entranced the listener in his bizarre soundscape. Reminiscent of both Nicolas Jaar’s Space Is Only Noise and The Knife’s Darwinian electro-opera, Tomorrow, In a Year- Thee Moths latest LP is not necessarily a pleasant or enjoyable album. But it’s immensely worthy of an auditory experience.
Standout tracks include:
Open Hand- Flag’s opening track throbs as an intense hybrid of bleeps and percussion. It’s what the Jumanji board game would sound like if dropped in a deep fryer. And I mean that in the best possible way.
Palindrome- An ambient orchestral swell- foreboding enough that it would sound right at home on Jonny Greenwood’s There Will Be Blood score.
Hello New Likers- An arresting piece of sonic misdirection. If you have faith in your fellow artist, you’ll bite into this one deep and hard.
I Will Come Home- Just when you think Peace Flag has wandered off into oblivion, Botten’s distant vocals and strategic string arrangements remind us that there is something human here after all.
You can download the entire Peace Flag experience at http://bit.ly/mDXUwl
Or visit their site www.theemoths.co.uk
The album is also streaming at www.theemoths.bandcamp.com