Album review: MOTHICA – Nocturnal

Viral alt.pop star MOTHICA’s second album is dark and intriguing but a little too sprawling…

Album review: MOTHICA – Nocturnal
Emma Wilkes

Night time isn’t always a restful time. There’s something about the darkness that opens the floodgates for overthinking and anxiety, and makes emotions more potent. MOTHICA knows all about it – it’s the central theme of her second album, an exploration of the inner demons that come out after the sky has turned from blue to black. It’s an intriguing, novel concept, and MOTHICA’s got a hell of a lot of mileage out of it (17 tracks, to be precise), but its execution isn’t totally flawless.

At her best, MOTHICA is capable of writing some killer pop songs. The title-track buzzes with an ambrosial darkness but has just the right amount of sugariness to keep listeners hitting repeat, while Highlights flaunts an addictive melody atop thumping beats and thrumming synths. It gets even better when she adds an alternative twist to her pop formulas by launching some surprise riffs into the mix, and there’s no denying that she often has some incredibly interesting ideas, particularly towards the end of the record. Reckoning displays a sense of dissonance, with harsher electronics and industrial riffs, that could open some fascinating doors for her in future, as does the almost Bring Me The Horizon-esque Blood, with its driving riffs and soft pop touches.

The problem with these songs is that they’re stark outliers. Nocturnal suffers from a lack of cohesion, struggling at times to hold onto the feeling of murkiness it strives for. The three sleep tape-aping interludes are quirky but feel tonally jarring next to the overt poppiness of these tracks, and a couple of songs, primarily the overwrought love songs Last Cigarette and Back Of My Mind, feel like they’re conceptually going off piste.

Ultimately, MOTHICA has thrown too much paint at the canvas. This record does not need to be 17 tracks long. Still, there’s stacks of potential here, but it just needs a little more focus. If MOTHICA can manage that, she could be brilliant.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: Poppy, Halsey, Zand

Nocturnal is out now via Heavy Heart

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