Moon Duo’s addictive riffs and melodies make a return for the strongest album they’ve put out in a while. The hazy production on Shadow of the Sun makes it sound more like a Wooden Shjips record than anything else Johnson and Yamada have put out together to date. Indeed, Shadow of the Sun is not only more danceable than the Shjiips’ 2013 effort Back to Land, I found myself enjoying the tunes here much more as well. It’s a little tricky to articulate this group’s instantly recognizable style, which is simultaneously poppy and cosmic: Silver Apples meets Spacemen 3 inside an Italian spy flick from the 60s, perhaps? The Duo go for a very simple approach, musically, and though they have a tendency to stay within a certain formula for crafting tunes, they consistently come out on top in the neo-psych menagerie. Johnson’s guitar tone remains absolutely stinging, forming a hard-rocking twin attack with Yamada and Johnson’s keyboard riffs.
As with Mazes, Shadow of the Sun bookends a slew of tightly-wound songs with a longer-form space rock trance-out, the worthy “Ice.” But the highlights of the record might be the seductively entrancing “Night Beats” and “Zero.” »
– Matthew Sweeney