Album Review – Mammals by Hanemoon (2020) (Self Released) (Jigsaw Records)


Hanemoon is the solo project of Hans Forster who is/was the front man with other great acts such as The Happy End and most notably with the superlative Seaside Stars.

Thankfully, this is not one of ‘those’ solo acts that drift too far away from the aesthetic of his previous acts and we are treated to a stripped down, warmer and more personal version of the Seaside Stars, rather than seeing him fall into the ‘must make this obviously different trap’ with his version of some sort of Moldovan death trance metal twee.

However, it is different ‘enough’ with two somewhat different stylistics all dancing happily around Forsters ‘made for pop’ sweet vocals, that acts as a most subtle foundation that fuses everything together.

Initially, tracks such as Where The Cars Collide (see below), Sunday Afternoon and Ghosts are just that llittle bit more laconic than the sweetest of Teenage Fanclub, with perhaps Dropkick / The Boys With The Perpetual Nervosuness being the closest beautiful reference points. When Forster’s voice is freed from the shackles of any ‘different’ production it is truly radiant.

However, the best of the album is heard when the aesthetic becomes that bit more clouded with the subtle fuzz-pop of At The Raging Waterfront (see below), Bang The Wire, Train Goes Fairly Slow and Sunset Alvarado.

Such tracks allow Forster’s vocals to flirt with, rather than dominate, the slender jangled melodies that dance intermittently with the overall cushion of equally fragile, almost apologetic fuzz-pop. It’s all very Carriers in style, but without the intrusion of the obvious quest for ambience.

There are rumours that the Seaside Stars are back working together again, which is great…although it would be a shame if it were to compromise the continuation of this brilliant project.

Artist Links: Spotify Facebook

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