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With fairly recent origins, they came about in 2014 after Paris-based Julien Decoret looked towards starting a new solo project, Joon Moon have wasted no time in releasing their debut EP Chess. A concise preview of what is to come, their first full-length LP is due out next year, Chess is an understated yet soulful record that boasts seductive melodies and heartfelt lyrics. Its only downfall is that there isn’t more of it.

The EP opens with Apple Day, a track that evokes the sounds of early Muse, as its sultry piano keys lead the way alongside vocalist Krystle Warren’s soft androgynous style. The chord progressions, particularly in its verses have a real touch of class about them, and are almost David Bowie-esque in their disjointed nature. This, accompanied by a catchy chorus that doesn’t feel cheap or contrived, makes for a pretty perfect slice of subtly executed pop music.

Whist Apple Day is all smoothness and understated nuance, following track Help Me has a little more drive to it, namely thanks to the snare-heavy drum beat borrowed from I Am The Resurrection and played with a perhaps less audacious attitude. Nothing too much to upset the eloquently soothing tone set by its predecessor, this snappy number features the kind of dual octave vocals listeners familiar with recent work by Arctic Monkeys or Black Keys will no doubt recognise and appreciate. It’s a short snippet of dramatic pop music, and great fun at that.

Concluding the EP is a duo of songs, beginning with the album’s title track, a dark, seductive number driven once again by that killer grand piano. “The mystery in your eyes with haunt me, haunt me ‘til I die” sings Warren with a crushing falsetto as he conveys love, heartbreak and sexual intuition in equal measure on the record’s standout track. Fittingly it is Chess that gets the mighty privilege of a remix, which features as the penultimate track before a radio edit of Apple Day. The remix, by Opium Factory, features a hi-hat dependent disco beat and brilliantly elaborate basslines that both respect and enhance the original song. Top marks for turning such a low-key, emotive number into something magnificently toe-tapping and unexpectedly ambitious.

With only three original tracks on Joon Moon’s debut EP it is hard to gage just how good their follow up album is going to be. However what we have heard is of a high enough quality to keep us interested until that is released. Effortlessly emphatic and cruelly seductive, Chess is an enticing preview of a band that certainly has a lot more great stuff to offer.

★★★★

Joon Moon’s Chess EP was released on 30 October 2015.

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