Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of its seven-year history, you’ve likely come across a few posts featuring the internationally renowned Melbourne, Australia-based indie electro pop act Miami Horror. Initially formed as a quartet, comprised of founding member Benjamin Plant (production), along with Joshua Moriarty (vocals, guitar), Aaron Shanahan (guitar, vocals and production) and Daniel Whitchurch (bass, keys, guitar), the Aussie pop act exploded into the international scene with the release of 2010’s Illumination, an effort that was praised for a sound that drew from fellow countrymen Cut Copy, as well as New Order, Prince, Michael Jackson, E.L.O. and others. The members of the quartet then spent the next three years shuttling back and forth between their hometown, Los Angeles and Paris writing and recording the material that would comprise 2013’s critically praised sophomore effort All Possible Futures, a breezy and summery, dance floor-friendly effort that was deeply inspired by the time the band spent writing and recording in Southern California — and while continuing to draw from 80s synth pop, the material hinted at 60s surf pop.
After touring to support All Possible Futures, the band had been on an informal hiatus as the band’s Benjamin Plant spent time as a go-to songwriter, co-writing tracks for fellow Aussie pop acts Client Liaison and Roland Tings. Somehow, the exceptionally busy Plant found time to write new material — material that would eventually comprise their conceptual EP The Shapes, which was released earlier this year. Before the recording sessions for The Shapes, the band went through a lineup change as they went from a quartet to a trio; but perhaps more important, The Shapes found the newly constituted trio expanding upon their sound with the EP’s material drawing from Talking Heads, Caribbean funk and African percussion while retaining elements of the sound that won them international attention; in fact, the EP’s dance floor friendly first single “Lelia” nodded at Tom Tom Club, Remain in Light-era Talking Heads, but with a soaring and rousing hook, shimmering synths and a ridiculously funky bass line, which Moriarty’s plaintive vocals float over.
Although he’s best known as the voice behind Miami Horror, the act’s Joshua Moriarty has stepped out from behind the band with the release of his solo debut album War Is Over. And interestingly enough, War Is Over‘s first single “R.T.F.L.” was a decided departure from his primary gig’s sound as the single leaned heavily towards contemporary electro pop and electro soul. The album’s second and latest single “All I Want Is You” manages to lean much more towards his work with Miami Horror, with the slickly produced song drawing from Giorgio Moroder-era disco and Tame Impala-like psych pop, complete with rousingly anthemic hooks and a sinuous dance floor — but the main difference to me is that Moriarty’s solo work possesses a plaintive and carnal sensuality.