Dundalk’s Nix Moon are a hugely impressive live band. They bowled me over on the main stage of Vantastival last month, so much so that I had to go see them again later that day. They are the quintessential festival band; baggy trousers, flowing hair and beards, and a barefoot, world-travelling, bongo player. Trying to capture the sound and feeling of Nix Moon in a studio setting is like trying to catch lightning in a bottle, but they have given it a good go here.
There’s a loose, all-encompassing music scene in Dundalk built around The Spirit Store, where they launched the EP last week. Soul Traffic is their first studio outing since the band came together a year and a half ago. They describe their sound as “Eastern-psychedelic-folk-jazz with a hint of prog, and a bit of reggae, ambient, and fusion.” Not so easy to pin down, but easy to shake your hips to.
Opening track ‘Hitchcock’s Eyes’ starts gently with Joycey singing sweetly, but with an undercurrent of menace, much like the late director’s films. The many changes of time signature and musical style within the song are typical of the band, who boast a wide range of influences from eastern music to heavy metal.
The song is radio friendly and the tune has a habit of staying in your head all day. After many deviations and derivations, the whole band weigh in towards the end of the song to great effect. It’s in this section and on the ska/reggae-tinged ‘Bad Seed’, with its psychedelic wig-out, that Nix Moon really get across the power they possess as a unit.
Have they managed to translate the energy and joie de vivre of their live performance on to record? Not entirely, but for a first record they have made a decent fist of it and, in ‘Hitchcock’s Eyes’, they have also written a cracker of a tune.
Soul Traffic is an excellent start to their recording career. Further experimentation with the recording process could yield real benefits, particularly if they can capture the feel of their live shows. Until then, make sure to add Nix Moon to your must-see list at one of the many, many festivals they’re playing around Ireland this summer.
The Soul Traffic EP is out now and currently only available in physical form, which is unfortunately sold out for now.