Close to the Flame

BY Angela MorrisonPublished Feb 17, 2020

Montreal's June Moon, also known as Forever, makes woozy, relaxed dance music that's best for just closing your eyes and letting the thumping beats and ethereal vocals wash over you. Close to the Flame, her followup to 2016's Forever EP, lacks cohesion but is filled with plenty of charm.
The offbeat electronic sounds and Moon's lovely, floating voice evoke both FKA twigs and Clairo, artists whose impeccable restraint Moon is clearly attuned to. After a point, the songs begin to blend into each other, creating a chilled-out experience that inevitably leads to multiple listens, if not only to try and distinguish where one song ends and another begins.
Forever seems most comfortable exploring themes of softness and vulnerability, yet she sounds more self-assured here than on her previous record, matching the easy confidence of guest vocalist Just John on funky album highlight "Make It Happen." Perhaps her newfound assuredness is a result of the heartbreak she recently endured after leaving behind a deeply unhealthy relationship. On "Devotion" she repeats: "I don't need to give you answers / I don't owe you anything at all," sounding simultaneously soft and firm.
She notes that "the record is haunted by a ghost," and that this spectral figure gave her the power to channel her pain into music and words ("I will pretend that you were good for me / I can move on, it's time for real change"). Forever still seems to be finding her artistic voice, and there are moments when the record drags a little bit, but she demonstrates genuine talent with this ethereal, feather-light R&B-pop.

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