Album Review: Moulettes – Preternatural

Moulettes-PreternaturalThe Moulettes are one of (if not the) most interesting and discordantly harmonious band on the folk circuit today.  Although it might sometimes be tough to identify them as folk it is without a doubt where their heritage lies and if you take the time to listen back through their discography then it would be difficult not to conclude that as we reach their fourth album, Preternatural, they have audibly grown, matured and even evolved with each and every step. 

Preternatural is a conceptual album that concentrates on the weird and wonderful world of strange creatures and it does so with a particularly vivid palette of colours.  It opens with the immensely powerful and barely constrained Behemoth; a song that they have been tantalising audiences with for months prior to the release of the album.  It is quite frankly a herculean effort of a song, loud and brash yet soft and subtle it tells tales of ancient monsters dwelling in their underground slumbers until they are awakened by the follies of man.  It’s an incredible song in its own right but as the opening song to the album it sets the perfect example of things to come. 

Musically the Moulettes are without peers – they have carefully carved themselves a niche within folk music and with every chord they play they carve deeper and deeper. There is deep, resonant, dark and moody. At times it wouldn’t sound out of place in the score of a Tim Burton film and yet there is something so wonderfully uplifting about their songs, something vivacious and with a powerful energy. Their songs can be touching and emotional at times and their perfectly crafted tales of wondrous beasts draws you in with every twist and turn. Like being absorbed by a particularly vivid Grimm fairy tale, there is something brooding within their words and you cannot help but be absorbed with their every breath.

One of the things that is so wonderful about Preternatural and the Moulettes in general is the fact that their sound has no real linear form of timeline to be associated with. They have crafted their music in such a way that they exist somewhere outside of time, at moments sounding like they have emerged from the 1800s and then in a short twist of time like they have emerged with the sounds of the future. Their music seems as if it is capable of transcending space and times and with their powerful descriptions they have to ability to carry your imagination soaring through an infinite number of worlds.

Preternatual is a stunning harmonic exploration of music that feels as though it could only be produced by the Moulettes. They are deep, rocky, guttural and yet so perfectly polished and honed at every turn that it is impossible not to find yourself feeling completely absorbed and encapsulated. The album is like taking a particularly addictive walk through a series of stunning fairy tales that are tinged with a peripheral darkness and danger. Impossible and timeless it is an album that at times feels as though it is alive itself – songs such as Parasite, Behemoth and Patterns all come with such raw power that you can almost imagine the songs breathing around you.

As tough as it is to classify what it is that the Moulettes do, it is without a shadow of a doubt that they make some of the most inspiring and astounding music available today.  This might just be the album of 2016. 

Check out this live version of Behemooth

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Review by Joe Knipe