The Moth & The Flame have returned to the forefront of alt-pop with the release of their new album Ruthless. The Provo, Utah natives have channeled immense depression and anxiety into their new release, and it comes through in waves of pop synths and harrowing vocals. Brandon Robbins (vocals, guitar), Mark Garbett (keyboards/vocals), and Andrew Tolman (drums) have been together since 2011, pushing their sound further and further with each release. With the release of Young & Afraid in 2016, which defined the trio by NPR Music as “channeling a pop sound, the group shows its resilience” while maintaining “a wonderful moodiness to the music that always lands right in the sweet spot”, the fans clamored for more from the musicians from Utah.
After a successful kidney transplant in 2016 between Robbins and Corey Fox (founder of Provo’s all-ages music venue, Velour) the band felt at the top of their game and began to release single after to single. All these releases led to the culmination of Ruthless, which embodies the fighting spirit of the group. The ebbs and flows of the album are intriguing to say the least. The opening track, “The New Great Depression”, has a lot more poppy feel than the title would suggest, but the lyrics behind said pop sound suggest otherwise. It is rare these days to listen to music that constantly forces you into contemplation and in-depth thought, and Ruthless is chock full of this thought provoking music. The use of voice distortion is used perfectly on the track “What Do I Do”, catching you off guard about half-way into the song, but it is a pleasant surprise. “Lullaby IV”, the closing track, is reminiscent of punk, but with a dash of voice distortion and a soft-pop outro.
Robbins had this to say about how the album came together through so much strife: “What we wanted to show people was the journey through anxiety and depression,” he says, “not just the lows but the highs as well.”
Ruthless is out now! You can also get more information about The Moth & The Flame here.