Moon Duo

Guitarist Ripley Johnson and keyboardist Sanae Yamada have spent their careers as Moon Duo concocting psychedelic jams that toy with notions of duality, balance, circles, and nature, with a dash of mysticism sprinkled in. Their latest endeavor seems to be the culmination of such obsessions: It’s a two-album project centered around the concept of the yin-yang. This album, the first of the two, focuses on the yin — loosely translated as the passive, dark, cold side of the dichotomy. The irony of this designation, however, is that this could be the most musically upbeat album Moon Duo has ever made. A sprightly bounce propels “Cross-Town Fade” into splatters of guitar, and closing track “White Rose” unfurls into 10 minutes of blissful, krautrock-inspired percussion. The lyrics, however, often contradict the joyful vibe: “Cold Fear” paints an image of loneliness and depression, yet rides atop a peppy drum beat, handclaps, and colorful bursts of synthesizers. “Cult of Moloch” dips into epic metal riffs worthy of its title, and “Will of the Devil” seems to have too much fun with its go-go rhythm to be sinking into despair. Naturally, this juxtaposition is all part of the fun with a yin-yang-inspired concept — it’s entirely possible that Occult Architecture Vol. 2 will feature hopeful lyrics and heavy, foreboding music.