The honeymoon is over for Moon Honey, the duo whose mystical music and substantial charisma inspired a mutual love affair with the Los Angeles scene they seemed destined to outgrow. Moon Honey have broken up, the project a victim of that ages-old snafu that has sabotaged many a band: the breakup of a romantic relationship.
Singer Jess Joy (Jessica Ramsey) and guitarist Andrew Martin moved to L.A. from Louisiana in late 2014 not long after releasing their debut album, “Hand-Painted Dream Photographs.” There was no small amount of bayou voodoo in what the prog- and psych-rock experimentalists did, combining Joy’s versatile vocals (in a league with Kate Bush) and penchant for visual art with Martin’s guitar prowess and rock showmanship. The 2018 album they made with producer John Goodmanson, “Mixed Media on Woman,” was spectacularly daring. Live, Joy, Martin and the collection of L.A. talent in their band turned the music into grand theater. It all seemed to have a higher purpose.
Now, as they go their separate ways, they are saying their goodbyes.
“Moon Honey has come to an end,” Martin says. “No words are powerful enough to describe how beautiful this journey has been. From Louisiana to L.A. and everywhere in between, we’ve had a rare opportunity to touch souls and deeply communicate with you through the power of music. Thank you to all of the magic seekers and true freaks that transcended with us throughout the years.”
“I’m a big ball of tears,” Joy says, “but what an absolute joy it’s been singing for you! You know we won’t stop making music.”
In fact, Moon Honey is leaving fans a parting gift — the seven-track album “Dreamlet” will be released on July 1. (A goodbye show that had tentatively been scheduled for early July was canceled, though.)
“A ‘dreamlet’ is a brief dream, a fragment experienced during the transition from being asleep to being awake,” Joy explains in an online Q&A with fans. “Lyrically, the album focuses on a cognitive shift from fantasy to reality. I think the music does the same — it has pockets of surreal, pockets of honest. It is at moments bombastic but ultimately ends on a note of humility.”
Joy explains that the album came from demos she and Martin flushed out with the help of Greg Saunier of Deerhoof, who co-produced. The album is less extravagant than “Mixed Media,” but owing mostly to Joy’s vocals no less transcendent.
This week, Moon Honey released “Sideline,” in which Joy traverses the “yellow brick road” that ultimately led to the place “L.A. glows in the golden sunshine.” As the sun sets on the band and relationship, she proclaims “I’m cheering you on / from the sideline.” The home movie-style video is culled from Super 8 footage by Joy, Martin and Colleen Louise Barry, and if that doesn’t make you shed a tear, there is the song “Love Leech.”
“In my life I was sure we were true / Why, then, has one become two?” Joy sings.
We’re just gonna leave that right there.
||| Stream: “Love Leech”
||| Also: Watch the video for “Sideline”