Moose Light Kingdom
EP Review: Healthy Supply of Poison
With the release of their second EP, Healthy Supply of Poison, Seattle five-piece Moose Light Kingdom cleverly balance acoustic and electronic textures that target the sweet spot of pop. Led by David Lin – who plays the role of songwriter/producer/vocalist/guitarist in the group – MLK have created down-to-earth tracks that reflect on coming-of-age hardships with a hopeful outlook. They explore universal themes of love, loss, and learning from mistakes, all set to some excellently layered instrumentation and unique vocal harmonies.
Coming out of Boston’s esteemed Berklee College of Music, Lin paired with Seattle native Tori Moran (vocals) and relocated to the Pacific Northwest. They’ve since also enlisted keyboardist Shawn Schlogel, bassist Kellan Duffy, and drummer Ean Verver. Since the release of their debut three-track EP, 2015’s Burning Lights, the group has been honing in on their collaborative sound and made a five-week tour of China.
That tour saw them connect with an international audience despite a language barrier (Lin does speak Chinese), and garnered plenty of live experience. They came back with plenty of new ideas to incorporate into their sound. Where Burning Lights feels more haunting and experimentally electronic, the new material delves into a more solid pop landscape.
Opening track “Parachute” carries a catchy beat, with an almost-hidden Chromeo-like tweakiness, minus the raunch. But there’s a solid, catchy melody there, a sweetness and sadness. The tracks here are well balanced. They don’t completely lose the original EPs experimental hand, but are definitely more polished, more pop.
On “Cigarette,” there’s an echoey quality that sweeps through the melody, lending it a cinematic feeling. Influences like Handsome Ghost and other acoustic/electronic crossovers like Milo Greene or MisterWives are definitely clear in the EP. These are, overall, pretty well constructed pop songs, with clear buildups and climaxes. “Buttons” finally sees Moran taking a strong stand on the vocal harmonies, her voice clear and crisp. While both that and “Tattoo” are simpler lyrically, the twists and turns of the harmonies are impressive.
Closing track “Moving as One” gets a little quirkier with its electronics, an upbeat tempo lending a road-trip-ready vibe. This one feels a bit more fun, ready for summer playlists. Overall, MLK are hitting some good notes here that warrant a couple of dives to really digest. Their layered instrumentation is surprising, and their melodies truly catchy.
Healthy Supply of Poison Track Listing:
Moving As One
Review by Stephanie Dore