Album Review: The Moth and the Flame

The Moth and the Flame's self-titled debut album


The Moth and the Flame
The Moth and the Flame
November 11, 2011

If such a thing still exists, The Moth and the Flame (TMATF) is art rock. From the carefully crafted tracks on their six-track, self-titled, debut album to the 20-foot-tall anthropomorphic giants used in promoting their symbolic 11/11/11 album release, the Provo, Utah rockers demonstrate a keen eye and ear for aesthetics.

The album’s Radiohead-meets shoegazer sound comes courtesy of Brandon Robbins and Mark Garbett. “How We Woke Up” serves as a proper introduction to TMATF’s flavor. Breathy vocals periodically click and snap into life as Garbett’s keys crescendo before sliding back into oblivion. This recipe keeps the album’s continuity, each track blending effortlessly into the next.

A track not to be missed, “Dreamer” reaches higher than all the rest, boldly using reverb to emphasize its message. Pensive keys reminiscent of M83 develop the album’s atmospheric sound in a new way, meshing perfectly with “Dreamer”’s fellow tracks.

Consistent with TMATF’s artsy character, the high-production value of the “Lullaby II” video commits TMFTF to good art. Filmed on the frozen and precarious-looking surface of Utah Lake, Robbins and Garbett send a melancholy message into a all-too-fitting wilderness. Additionally, the group expresses a commitment to the album’s art on the frontpage of their website, claiming it is “not an afterthought but rather an integral part of the process”. It is for this reason, they say, that the album is only available in physical form.

In a word, TMATF is about feeling. From the emotions in their lyrics to the simple pleasure of receiving an album in the mail, Robbins and Garbett’s album offers a 45-minute reminder of how to appreciate life’s joys.