Oh, first love. One could devote their entire life to discovering all the art work first love (or its aftermath) produces and never reach an end. You have to respect an event that is so totally universal yet maintains the enigmatic power to feel so completely unique and individualized. Nothing really fits the bill except for maybe first love (or death).
It seems befitting that Sareena Dominguez should launch her recording career with an album about first love and its passing. Not only does Sareena lend the newness of her voice to a well-worn but not worn-out theme, but she does so at the tender age of 19 when the experience needn’t be sought out from further reaches of the mind. Plenty of younger folk might attempt such a feat but few would have similar success in achieving the same combination of romantic innocence and hard-earned wisdom contained in Moonbeams.
The album opens with “Fourteen,” more a collection of quiet thoughts, observations, and doubts from the early moments of burgeoning love than a direct narrative. The narrator claims “You’ll never feel that same spark again.” She won’t and therein lays the sorrow. Sareena Dominguez understands and conveys the underlying meanings through her expressive voice.
Moonbeams definitely lies toward the folksier side of the indie spectrum but songs like “Dagger” and “Ghost” do highlight a pop tendency found throughout the album. Dominguez’s sound is well suited to the River Jones’ menagerie.
Now that she’s purged herself of the compulsory first-love tale, I look forward to discovering what new themes Sareena Dominguez tackles in albums to come. In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy Moonbeams and the memories it draws to the surface of early meanderings into tragedy and loss, or, in other words, love.