- Under the guise of Moomin, Sebastian Genz emerged only late last year, appearing alongside his pal Oskar Offermann for the 12-inch titled Hardmood/Joe McDaddy. This year, his career has been moving ahead in leaps and bounds. There were three singles, and now this, a rather sharp full-length. Like Christopher Rau and John Roberts before him, Moomin's debut is a pensive one. It's a not a mood he pursues to exclusion, however. Small bursts of jubilance counter-weight the periods of introspection, creating a balanced result.
In his recent review of Sweet Sweet, Jordan Rothlein wrote of Genz manipulating a basic chord for seven straight minutes. This talent at prolonging simple melodic themes is central to The Story About You, which opens with gentle wave crashes and the shrill call of seagulls. Adding fluttering chimes, Genz rolls through an endless number of nuanced melodic iterations. When the six minutes are up, you're left wondering how you got there. The title of this first tune is one of those made-up words Germans—and other Europeans—seem so talented at inventing. The "Doobiest" track ever? Maybe; one can't help but feel a relaxed stoner buzz afterwards.
It's an encouraging start, even as the album dives straight into the funereal title track. Based on the interaction of dignified piano and guitar, a mournful humming frequently rises to join the sober tale. From here, Genz moves us into sunnier territory, but sticks idiosyncratically to his cyclical chords and bone-dry percussion. To these ears, this next track— "You" —is the most typically "Smallville" of the release, and also one of the most energetic. Fusing a charging hat with delayed, overlapping chimes, it's entirely mesmerising. In the mid-section, "Raw Like 97" and "Untitled" are similarly beautiful, plying music box twinkles and swan-like elegance respectively. Then it's back to despondency, "Neither One" doling out heavy drums and lamenting a failed relationship in equal measure.
The favourite for many, it seems, will be "Watermelon," already featured on the Spare Time single. Like "Strider's World" by Omar-S, it's little more than a giant stomping beat slathered with Mario Brothers-style blipping. This time, however, it's a lot less menacing. Along with the cute child voice that makes up "I Wanna," it's one of the more spirited cuts here. Coupled with Genz' patient melodic development, this artfully weaved combination of mild bliss and its depressive opposite make The Story a winner.
02. The Story About You
04. Raw Like 97
05. I Wanna
07. Neither One