Moana Lutton and her collaborators have been performing dark, ethereal incantations in the live milieu for about a year now, but whether the very specific atmosphere of their gigs would easily or accurately transcribe to a recorded medium has always been a mystery. Now that their debut EP has dropped, it can be said that we needn’t have worried.
A six-track dose of almost ritualistic weirdness, A Mouthful Of Birds is wilfully hard to pin down. Initial offering The Killer, My Girl is a metaphor-heavy dirge, slow but soaring, while the a capella track, Hyena, is a self-affirming diss at an unnamed romantic rival.
Moana are often labelled as ‘psychedelic,’ but if that’s the case then they’re definitely drawing from the darker side of ‘60s – more The Doors and Donovan than anything else. In truth, Moana are the next iteration of the dark, arty and angry female voice, with a lineage that can be traced through PJ Harvey and Tori Amos back to Kate Bush, Patti Smith and beyond.
It’s not a bad artistic dynasty to hitch your horse to. The only really failing here is that the EP feels like a tease – now bring on the album.