Review: Reonda – Moon EP
There’s a certain charm in the nighttime that’s hard to explain. It may be that calming feeling that you get when the world slows down from its bustling pace, or that sudden stillness in the night. As you gaze out into the night sky with the muted sounds of the city murmuring outside your window, there you see it. That giant, eternal moon.
One can only imagine that Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Reonda penned the lyrics to “Moon,” the eponymous title track on Moon EP, whilst looking right at it. A six-minute long ode to that “blushing, tender, yellow” satellite, “Moon” is a great representation of the kinds of soft songs you’ll find on Moon EP, Reonda’s newest release. It’s one about the little moments–a small collection of introverted folk songs that perfectly accompanies a near-silent night of stargazing and moon-watching. Together, the six lovely acoustic melodies and Reonda’s sleepy voice create an atmposhere that is hypnotically alluring.
Though Reonda first released her debut album Lightness of Being back in 2016, Moon EP contains some of the musician’s earliest pieces. As a result, a lot of the songs seem even more scaled back and less polished than anything on her debut. Backed by little more than some delicate guitarwork, Reonda doesn’t seem to mind the looser production. In fact, if anything the impact of the songs on Moon EP are enhanced due to her songs’ candid introversion. It wouldn’t be surprising if all of these lyrics started off as scribbled down notes in a beat-up diary.
For example, opener “It Smells Nice in the Graveyard” concedes some of Reonda’s more morbid thoughts about death. With her quiet voice, she paints a scene of a dead body that gets grown over in the titular graveyard and their eternal soul living on “some place beyond.” Though pleasant instrumentals keep the song from getting too existential, “It Smells Nice in the Graveyard” is just one example of the many contemplative meditations Reonda seems to have throughout the night.
On other parts of the album, Reonda addresses her own introversion head-on with “I’m Not Antisocial.” Matched with her somber drawl, the lyrics in “I’m Not Antisocial” tell a more personal story. Instead of attending a “party in SoHo,” she’d rather stay home. She’s self-aware of her plight–she knows what she’s doing can be aggravating (“Thanks for all your invitations / I’ve let you down on several occasions”) but she’ll be there for you when it’s all over (“You know that I’ll be here when they’re gone”). “I’m Not Antisocial” acts more as a medium for her to channel her inner thoughts about who she is–it’s a vehicle for her to reveal her own otherwise bottled-up thoughts. “What I’ll Be Doing New Year’s Eve” reflects that mindset: instead of celebrating it in a giant party, she only wants to spend it lying down next to someone special. The songs on Moon EP are revealing. There’s a sense that we know exactly the type of person she is despite never having met her.
In its fastest moments, Moon EP ever-so-slightly speeds up from a crawling BPM to a slow walk. “Budweiser,” an all-Cantonese song, is a pleasant change of pace in the middle of the album. Closer “Can’t Catch Me,” also picks it up with some fast guitarwork. Although the re-appropriation of the “na na na na you can’t catch me” childhood taunt seems a bit out of place for a project this subtle, Reonda makes up for it with some layered folk instrumentals to close it all out.
By the time you finish listening to Moon EP, you start to appreciate the raw elements of the project. There’s a homespun quality to how its all put together. Though Moon EP might not be the most glossy or bombastic release out there, but one thing’s for sure–you’ll find some songs with a lot of heart.