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SINGLE REVIEW: moa moa - Yellow Jacket

Can You Count To 5?

moa moa - Yellow Jacket (2020 Council)

I wont lie: the only reason I know who London newcomers moa moa are is because of our very own chief editor Ben Wheadon, who urged Slow Motion Panic Masters' staff writers to listen to the band's debut single 'Yellow Jacket'. His pitch? "It's really, really good."

At the time, I felt embarrassed that "moa moa" wasn't ringing any bells. That sense of musical ignorance-based guilt quickly subsided, however, when I realised that 'Yellow Jacket' is the very first track that housemates-turned-bandmates James Ratcliffe, Dan Byrne, Connor James and Matt Taylor have put on Spotify. Ever. And if this release is anything to go by, moa moa are in store for an exceptional 2020, with the prospect of two more singles releasing by 2021 being tantalising to say the least.

After a thunderous count-in, 'Yellow Jacket' begins with a splinteringly distorted bass tone, perfectly filtered through gnarling octave fuzz and creating a ferocious tower of sound that smacks you in the face and tells you to pay attention to its naughty time signatures. Above it an ample variety of compelling sounds flourishes: metronomic drum beats, echo-y vocals, and glimpses at tropically-infused bongo rhythms. Impressively, this rich mix of musical textures avoids feeling bloated or cacophonous, instead creating a beautifully wonky soundscape for this psychedelic-pop track; it hits that sweet spot where bold, experimental, and easy to sway to intersect. Written, recorded and produced by band leader Ratcliffe, 'Yellow Jacket' stands out as a testament to the dexterously talented front man, and is truly an unmissable underground listen.

Ratcliffe's lyrical creativity also proves fresh and inventive. Instead of the classic verse - chorus - verse structure one is privy to in most songwriting, 'Yellow Jacket' is written as a dialogue between two lovers. Matching the circularity of its synth and bass backdrop, Person A and Person B discuss issues of jealousy and mistrust in their relationship with surprising nuance: the speakers do not come off as “good guy vs bad guy” but as two people stuck in a relationship that clearly is not working out for either party. This dynamic was, at times, so raw in its delivery that it felt (literally) chilling.

One particular instance comes to mind: after spending the first half of the song listening to Person A accuse Person B of cheating, Person B, calm and collected, begins their defence with the damning: “Yeah, well are you looking to be in something real?” The multiple meanings and implications of that line alone are something I will be churning over in my mind for a very long time.

With its combination of daringly inventive composition and hard-hitting lyrics, 'Yellow Jacket' is a remarkable presentation card for a band with incredible potential. Keep an eye out for moa moa, folks, and listen to their new single. Like Ben said, it’s really, really good.


- great -


See Tom Sharp's brilliantly realised lyric video for 'Yellow Jacket' below, featuring mesmerising artwork of Renata Latipova.

Follow moa moa on instagram and like them on facebook.

See them live for free on March 18 at the Paper Dress Vintage


Ainhoa Santos Goikoetxea (pronounced "I-know-ah") is a culturally confused third-year English student from the Basque Country, Spain. She is passionate about film, music and politics, and she should probably know more than she does about all three.

Thanks for reading! Slow Motion Panic Masters is a music, arts and culture blog created and edited by Ben Wheadon, a literature student and musician based in London, England.

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