On their third album, Moderat continue their exploration of the space between James Blake and Justin Timberlake, and remain a much more natural and essential act when compared to the usual "supergroup" or "side project." Here, Modeselektor's Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary join Apparat's Sascha Ring and present wistful R&B and indie pop songs, underlined by haunting techno and with echoing production that's a cross between Basic Channel and Daniel Lanois. That's not all that different from their great 2013 album, II, but III experiments more, sacrificing none of its attractiveness while venturing into skittish micro-trap (lead single "Reminder"), exotic ethno-techno ("Animal Trails"), and something akin to Adele singing William S. Burroughs lyrics over classic glitch ("Eating Hooks"). Anchoring it all is the luxurious, swaying music, the warm vocals, and the enchanting lyrics, with "Finder" being the key track and the closing "Ethereal" the most aptly titled. With an economical nine songs, this moody -- yet not too narrow -- album is right-sized as well, and if the cover art misrepresents the group as creepy and off-putting, it's because the perfectly tempered Moderat don't care to be precious, even if they deal primarily in heartache, wistfulness, warmth, and immaculate production that's borderline plush.
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries