Chicago trio Moontype make indie rock for the dreamer in everyone | Music Review | Chicago Reader

Chicago trio Moontype make indie rock for the dreamer in everyone 

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click to enlarge Moontype


Julia Dratel

Bassist and vocalist Margaret McCarthy began releasing music as Moontype while enrolled in Oberlin’s music conservatory. She began with a 2017 self-released EP called Fan Music, in which drifty singing, plucking, and strumming are barely audible through what sounds like the hum of a box fan. McCarthy shifted to more traditional songwriting with 2018’s Bass Tunes, Year 5, which she released upon graduating from school in June of that year; it’s a bare indie-rock album built from her steady, gentle bass and overdubbed layers of yearning vocals. She soon relocated to Chicago, where she connected with two fellow former Oberlin students, guitarist Ben Cruz and drummer Emerson Hunton. The three of them began playing in alt-country five-piece the Deals (with two more Oberlin alumni), and soon McCarthy enlisted Cruz and Hunton for Moontype 2.0. Their chemistry has helped transform McCarthy’s spacious, tender solo material into fleshed-out indie-rock rippers that maintain a tender luster. The 12 songs on their brand-new debut album, Bodies of Water (Born Yesterday), included reworked versions of all four tracks from Bass Tunes; Cruz’s runaway riffs and Hunton’s workmanlike drumming help transform the chilly, romantic postpunk of the original “About You” into a giddy shot of joyful power pop. McCarthy’s restrained, gossamer vocals carry a dreamy hopefulness, and on Bodies of Water it seems to intensify whenever she’s faced with a wall of sound. On advance single “Ferry,” she sings of setting out across Lake Michigan to Canada, her voice coasting along waves of shoegaze distortion with a serene poise that suggests all her desires are within reach—either that, or it doesn’t matter if any of them are.   v

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