Moon Duo Circles

Moon DuoCircles
Aussie band Tame Impala proved to the masses that psych rock doesn't always equate retro, but don't tell that to Ripley Johnson. The Colorado native has been pumping out hypnotic and decidedly un-retro psych for the past few years in both Wooden Shjips and Moon Duo, with keyboard and drum programmer Sanae Yamada. While Wooden Shjips present a more traditional take on the genre, Moon Duo are where the singer-guitarist unleashes his more unconventional ideas. Third time out, that includes pop, as Circles contains his most overt efforts to craft hooks around his Suicide- and Krautrock-leaning jams, and floating guitar solos. The record's back half falls more closely in line with the throbbing build of the pair's last album, Mazes, but the songs never feel like retreads. The record's themes and title are cribbed from an essay by nineteenth century transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson. But understanding the concepts behind these nine tracks isn't integral to thoroughly enjoying Johnson's best work to date. (Sacred Bones)