So So Gay sat down with Swedish singer-songwriter Andreas Moe a few weeks ago, and the rising star made some promises about his debut EP Collecting Sunlight. Now we’ve had a chance to hear the five-track set and see how the shift into ‘acoustic electronic’ suits this young man.
Title track ‘Collecting Sunlight’ begins with a light, skittering synth, immediately suggesting the shimmering rays of sunshine Moe’s gathering. Remaining on a melodic plateau, it’s Moe’s vocals that gather the song into its chorus, breathily escalating to sing the titular line. ‘You’re the only one to whom I promised the sun,’ he softly echoes, an unanswered love letter to his lover. In the final stretch, the drum machine finally puts some beats behind him, gathering the final burst of emotion before the song drops out.
Moe’s high-pitched falsetto has been switched on for ‘My Side Of The Bed’, betraying his cited influence of Prince as he laments a lover who’s moved on. ‘Packing my things up, folding the memories,’ he breathes, his voice frequently reaching and breaking slightly in despair. The drum machine enters much earlier here, pounding behind the falsetto chorus to emphasise the drama. Again, though, the song seems to stay on one level, keeping Moe firmly in a mode of melancholy.
The lick of an acoustic guitar and a simple piano refrain introduce ‘Stay So We Stay Us’, which holds its subject matter brazenly in its title. Desperately clinging onto a broken relationship, he elongates the word ‘please’ as he begs her to ‘stay one moment more’ to the fizz of slow synths and a dispirited echo on his vocals. Over five minutes long, Moe lets the synths take the vocal melody for the final section of the song, apparently too sad to continue singing to the end.
The melancholy continues on the rather gorgeous, 80s-tinged ‘Half A Heart Of Love’, where Moe maintains his high, breathy vocal throughout, various levels of vocal echoing in the spacey synth chambers built around him. ‘You hold my heart and then you break it,’ he emotes simply. When a freewheeling guitar line strikes up, its frenetic charge puts a jagged bolt through the depressive mood.
Closing with a metaphorical twist on all this negativity, ‘Snow’ begins with the soft call of a wild horn, immediately evoking the desolate landscapes the title might provoke. ‘Cause nothing is forever / The summer wasn’t mine to keep,’ Moe says sorrowfully, realising that he’s ‘gotta learn to love the snow’. A low, reverberating drum machine beat reminiscent of The xx lies under the song, with the gentle twang of the guitar and finally the creeping gathering of strings making this an effectively big finale.
Collecting Sunlight is an EP mostly devoid of the shining positivity its title might suggest. In the mode of his contemporary Erik Hassle – an easy vocal comparison here – Moe sticks firmly to the emotive heartbreak, but his simple, straightforward lyricism, coupled with a gorgeous musical landscape and his rather pretty face could well see this rising star shining in a sky near you very soon.
Go Get It: ‘Half A Heart Of Love’
Forget It: ‘Stay So We Stay Us’