Pitchfork (Website) - "[T]hese songs scratch a very particular emotional itch in extremely satisfying ways: They're both melancholy and zippy at the same time, downcast yet fleet of foot."
Things can often feel a little cloudy upon first awakening in the morning: thoughts drift in and out of focus; plans are made and then quickly forgotten. Moomin has dedicated his entire career to capturing that feeling in 4/4 time. That consistency hasn't wavered on his second full-length, A Minor Thought, to the point that opening track "123" shares the same samples of seagulls and waves lapping the shore found at the beginning of his debut album, The Story About You, right before the arrival of a similarly skittering drum pattern. It brings about a feeling of familiarity, setting the stage for proceedings that never veer too far from Moomin's characteristically understated sound. His associated label, Smallville Records (an offshoot of the record store located in Hamburg, Germany), boasts an entire roster specializing in the lighter, deeper side of house. Moomin just happens to stand out among the pack; in many ways he is the epitome of the Smallville sound. His use of clear, precise, and very intentional percussion might just be the defining factor; he achieves the effect by combining drum machines with live drum recordings. The resulting pitter-patter is usually the driving force, towing the track along and resonating with your inner rhythm. There are of course some exceptions: halfway through A Minor Thought is the R&B-inspired "Woman to Woman," and while it retains the trademark percussion, it also features swooping strings and a bassline that often overshadows the beat-driven backbone. For the most part the tone doesn't shift from being wholly warm and smooth, as track after track glides by at somewhere between 120 and 125 bpm. If you're paying close attention, this can cause the album to drag in the latter half. However, it was never the intention of Moomin to create a roller-coaster record; this is an artist, and a record label, focused on a sound that you're supposed to lose focus to. Although Moomin's sound is resolutely his own, various artistic touchstones are still scattered throughout the record; hints of Larry Heard can be detected within "Chemistry," and the occasionally stuttering beat and minimal vocal touches on "You Neva Know" echo 2015 breakthrough Hunee's defining track "Rare Happiness." The loftiest comparison can be made with mid-album track "Alone," as it harks back to the halcyon days of Orbital's post-rave anthem "Belfast." While the leap between the two might seem grand, the idea remains the same: Moomin is not making house for dancefloors; A Minor Thought aims for the sunrise, the morning after, the calm days devoid of storms. ~ Liam Martin