Full Album Review: Future Forces by Moonraccoon

When saving the world from cybernetic laser beam wielding androids and the future of mankind is on the line, you’re going to need the right music to get the job done right. Meet Moonraccoon. Moonraccoon makes rad music for people that do rad things. Her latest album’s name is Future Forces and the music she puts out is part of the new generation of dark cyberpunk inspired synthwave. For those looking to have an awesome soundtrack as they do awesome things, look no further than Future Forces. Grab your favorite laser cutters and please allow me to give you my review of Moonraccoon’s new album Future Forces.

Let’s start with the album’s opener. “The Future” doesn’t start off with a bang. Instead, it starts with notes that echo down a long dark hallway. These notes have a nice build up and do a nice job setting up the mood of the album. Interestingly enough, the entire intro is devoid of any type of pronounced drum track. Light percussion can only be heard and the track builds for over 2 minutes. There is something very interesting about an album that takes its time to get going. So many albums are quick to get that 4 on the floor going as soon as possible. Clearly this album is in it for the long haul. By the time that boom bat beats kicks in roughly midway through the second minute it’s already met by the first of many ravaging guitar solos. The opening guitar solo performed by Elfuzz nicely sets the tone for what to expect over the entire album. It follows through with hard pounding beats with raging guitars, finger jamming keyboard solos and over the top cyberpunk feels.

“Target Is A Machine”, the albums first single finally gets things up to speed with a wonderfully painted cyberpunk universe and put the listener smack dab in the middle of some type of high security facility. The loudspeaker warns out “intruder alert” and we’re in trouble. Destruction is imminent.  Luckily once the beat kicked in and Moonracoon’s over the top pitch riding keyboard solo sweeps in, I knew we have a slim chance of getting the hell out of there. And we did, with minimal battle scars.

“When the City Sleeps”  introduces her second of three special guest guitarists. And at this moment I would like to stop this review for a second so we can reflect on this.

Three featured guitarist special guests on an album is not your typical badassery. It’s an over the top Kunk Fu kick in the face to a laser wielding cyborg ninja kind of badassery.

Okay back to the music… “When the City Sleeps” features the guitar work of none other than Straplocked. Straplocked is very much pioneering the over the top guitar driven cyberpunk synthwave  sound and on the track he delivers as usual.

The album’s forth track “Dangerous Days” is the only track with vocals featuring full on lyrics. Icarus delivers a rather solid vocalized performance. His lightly harmonized vocals might be a little overly articulated  for my taste, but it definitely gets the job done providing a little lyrical love to Future Forces. It also features a nice hook that will instantly get you singing along.

While the album is light on lyrics this does not mean it’s lacking vocals. On “Neon Nights” Kashmir11 delivers a hauntingly beautiful sustained vocal. This new style of washing vocals over the track is a new experience for me and an interesting approach to sound production. Moonracoon almost plays Kashmir11’s vocal as a sustained note that hauntingly glides across the track. The song eventually builds into an epic crescendo complete with twinkly synth riffs before falling off.

This brings me to another observation to the album I also enjoyed. In lieu of the tedious long drawn out fade outs, Moonraccoon ends many of her songs with a cold outro. When the song is over, it’s over and doesn’t waste time getting to the next jam. Personally I feel long fade outs are a lazy approach to song writing and I much prefer this approach of quick cold endings.

“Three Laws” the album’s second single has been out for a while but is as fresh as the moment it first rolled out. “Three Laws” once again plays up the cyberpunk theme referencing the Three Laws of Robotics by Issiac Asmov. There’s more over the top guitar work from Straplocked that comes in with heaping helpings considering the track length is over five minutes.

Do you know that moment (spoiler alert) when Morpheous give Neo gets traced and his scream goes from organic to digital in probably one of the greatest movie scenes in cyberpunk history? Imagine that wonderful sound candy being stretched across a 3 minute banger. With “Crash Override” that’s exactly what you’re going to get. The digital soundscapes in this track are just so delightful to listen to. From moment to moment, the synth harmony gets chopped, digitized and blended with some amazing cyberpunk imagery.

“Behind Enemy Lines” is another pulse pounding pace of a track that introduces Dimi Kaye’s guitar work. While it’s nestled a little under the track, the grandness of the chords really makes for some really tense and heavy sound imagery.

“Dark Discovery” once again features the vocal wash over with the sounds of Kashmire11. These highly sustained vocals if anything go to show that Moonracoon is not afraid to deviate from the norm when it comes to her sound production. While not unlike the sounds in “Neon Nights,” it’s still a nice fast driving floor pounder that is certainly worth it’s spot on the album.

“Sentience”, with Turbo Knight takes the listener on a fast drive around the city with great snapping beats and a chug along guitar work from Dimi Kaye. If this album was a movie, this would definitely be the chase scene. The track culminates into a super over the top solo from Dimi Kaye driving the entire track home.

“Return to Mainframe” is a great bookend type track that does a great job complimenting the opening track “The Future.” With it’s light percussion and well accented drum sounds, it presents the listener with a conclusion to the fast paced action scene we experienced in the previous track. It’s slow rolling but swells to build to a nice climax when the guitar sounds of Dimi Kaye once again pierce through out of the smoke and ashes. You breathe a sign of relief as the world has been saved once again.

As if  you haven’t been through enough fast paced action, “Once Hope” brings us back once more. With the opening sample “There’s only one hope for humanity, the synthesizer” to the very end, it gives one last ride through the dark cyberpunk universe Moonraccoon has carefully constructed.

Overall, the album is just plain fun to listen to especially when behind the wheel cruising down the highway. The fun sound experimentation, the over the top guitar driven arrangements and the super slick keyboard solos really give the whole album personality and make for a heart pounding ride through a dystopia you’re going to want to visit over and over again.

If you haven’t picked up Moonraccoon’s “Future Forces” yet, you’re going to want to head over to Bandcamp and get your paws on a copy of your very own.