By Alessandro Improta
Doe is a new musical project from Luna Lune’s lead singer, Tessa Barton, and Better Taste Bureau’s Mason Brewer. Their debut EP dropped unexpectedly on February 5th, 2016. Originally thought to be a one off release as part of a side project, Doe has taken on more of a primary role as Luna Lune announced that their show on February 22nd was their “last one for a while.” Whether this ends up being a just a one time release or not, we’re glad it happened. Here’s what we thought about their self-titled debut.
It’s easy to listen to this EP and fall in love with Barton’s vocals. Ever since I saw Luna Lune for the first time a few years ago, I have been blown away by what she does. However, I want to take a moment and talk about Brewer’s production here. I keep saying this – even though I keep getting proven wrong by great electronic tracks – but I tend to dislike local electronic tracks because they don’t feel human to me. They often feel repetitive and just plain matte. However, this is probably the best set of electronic tracks I’ve heard produced by a local act. It genuinely feels like there is a band playing with Barton, all playing futuristic instruments that are making these crazy noises. The production is very atmospheric, and Brewer does a brilliant job of filling the sonic space. I am curious about how this will translate into a live performance, but as far as the EP goes, it sounds fantastic.
Now back to Barton’s vocals. Seriously, they are incredible. Her soulful, raspy sound fits the chill, groovy vibe often found in this release. “Cradle” is a perfect example of this. Listen to her on that track from 1:40 to 1:54. She goes from her already airy voice into an actual whisper, and the transition is absolutely perfect. The great thing about Barton’s voice is that, even though she naturally has an airy voice, it actually sounds just as good – if not better – when she pushes it, gets harsher, or goes into her high register. She has a natural break in her voice that is so compelling. To hear what I’m talking about, listen to “Pulse” from 1:04 to 1:45. It’s honestly so frustrating to me that people are born with voices like Barton’s – so pleasing and so distinct. I’m more than a little envious. Her voice is fantastic.
If I have one criticism for this entire EP, it’s that it is difficult to hear the lyrics clearly. I think that this is due to Barton’s pronunciation when she sings. This makes it hard for the music to move me emotionally as much as it impresses me musically. That being said, her voice sounds so good that I would be fine if she did nothing but sing vowels the entire time.
Usually with these reviews I like taking two or three tracks that are either my favorite, show the range of styles within an album, or both. This EP was very hard for me to talk about in that way for a few reasons. First, the five tracks have a very similar vibe. Second, and this is the part that is impressive to me: the EP plays really well as a whole. Sure, the single “We Are” is a great song – and probably the strongest on the EP – but I wouldn’t recommend one song from this EP as much as I would recommend the EP in its entirety. Seriously, it is only five tracks. Take seventeen minutes of your day and make it better with Doe.
I really enjoyed this EP. Beyond just simply being good music, it’s showing the growth of the local music scene. This genre/vibe isn’t the usual thing coming out of the area. I am always happy to see variety with our local music, but I am even happier when people do something different and do it as well as Doe just did with this release.