In the new single “Light of the Moon,” the engaging and rather relaxing band Red Matter prioritizes string-born decadence over compositional dexterity, and while this doesn’t exactly fit in with any modern trends, it could be what makes this single so different. “Light of the Moon” is a multidimensional kaleidoscope through which we get an exclusive look into the artistry of a truly talented group of musicians who have thankfully found the likes of one another. Flanked with eccentricities that run from an 80s-style string pattern to soft rock-like harmonies that would drown us were they made of liquid instead of sonic matter. The results of Red Matter’s experimentation are surprisingly potent, and I’m not the only fan who will tell you so. 

Although it is perhaps the softest element here melodically, the lead vocal in “Light of the Moon” has a lot of physicality it imparts to the master mix. There’s nothing in its construction that would qualify as being overindulgent, but even if it were to be skewed with a little sonic excess in a live performance, I think it would probably be just as memorable as it is here. It’s difficult to merge over-the-top harmonies with stingy lyrical narratives, but in this single, I believe that Red Matter sets a good example for their younger contemporaries to follow. 

The bassline in this track backs up the poetic web created behind the microphone with an equally brooding mixture of tonality and texture. I might have played with the EQ to get a slightly more defined sound out of the bass toward the end of the song, but aside from that, it’s one of the most powerful elements to be examined on the instrumental side of “Light of the Moon.” It improves the accessibility of the lyrical content here brilliantly and also helps to amplify the natural emotion in our singer’s unfiltered vocal. 

Instead of following the beat of the drums, the singing we discover in this song is meant to pursue the swaggering movement of the pulsating rhythm, making it difficult for us to separate our focus from the sonic wallop of the instrumentation as a whole. Red Matter was determined to get a big reaction out of their audience in this track, and in giving “Light of the Moon” as progressive-minded a finish as they did, they ensured that no critic, whether in the mainstream or the underground alike, could accuse them of trying to bandwagon with fleeting trends as so many of their peers have lately. 

Fans of alternative music would be wise to hear what Red Matter is laying down in the new single “Light of the Moon” if for no other reason than to hear what true-blue soft pop sounds like when it isn’t doused in pointless polishes best left on the sidelines for most songs. This act has come out of nowhere in 2023 but seems to be attracting the kind of positive attention that any newcomer to the spotlight would love to have, and after listening to this recent studio work, I can say I understand why. This feels like the beginning for Red Matter, and I don’t want to miss whatever comes next. 

Garth Thomas