MOTHICA - Nocturnal
9Overall Score
MOTHICA - Nocturnal9

MOTHICA, Nocturnal
Heavy Heart Records

MOTHICA has stepped up the theatrics on second full-length offering Nocturnal, a paper-winged pop-rock opera replete with haunting interludes and cosy characters. In an eerie dark before the dawn, MOTHICA reflects on a number of personal subjects, but extracts them from real life and shelves them in the branches of the mystic wonderland of Nocturnal. There’s a sense that she’s revelling in merely visiting the darkest hour of the night, and somewhere along the line there’s a butterfly equivalent basking in the sun.

Though it’s an indulgent seventeen tracks long, Nocturnal is remarkably cohesive. The sun sets with the flickering SLEEPWALK, a film-noir lullaby that just about lets you drift off in amongst it’s synthy haze before the nightmare begins in our title track. With the theatre of a popstar rising into an anticipation-ridden arena, MOTHICA’s clear vocals and razor-sharp sonic focus provide Nocturnal’s first anthem of many.

The album is constructed around four acts, divided by three interludes revolving around a postmodern ‘little moth’ addressed by a Siri spoken word medium – they’re delicate delights amongst the bolshy alt-pop that constitutes many of the album’s tracks, impossible not to find endearing with their nurturing tone and woozy soundscapes – as the listener, you get to become a character in MOTHICA’s story, and the part is a pleasure to play.

In between all of the conceptual richness, MOTHICA has had time, somehow, to write some of the year’s fieriest dark-pop tunes, too. CASUALTY stomps and soars, SENSITIVE oozes swagger like a mantra through its anxiety-ridden lyrics, late highlight THE RECKONING is a stunning, Halsey-meets-Billie-ish duet that’s as catalytic as its title suggests. MOTHICA is luxuriating in her knack for storytelling – both sonic and lyrical – across the entire duration of Nocturnal, and it’s made for a glorious album arc.

Vivid and visceral, the landscapes MOTHICA welcomes us to in the twisty wonderland of Nocturnal beg to be explored. She’s already demonstrated no fear of the unknown – whether that’s through the ease with which she flicks from acoustic ballad to howling electronica, or the effortlessness she weaves her narrative without ever feeling disjointed. Deftly, darkly, MOTHICA heralds in the dawn of a new wave of alt-pop icons.

Nocturnal is out now.