Welcome to the Feast of Shrubs

Moff Skellington 

The Pukes of a Hot Cloister

Self Released via website  

The dark days of January are  brightened somewhat by the arrival of a new set from the utterly wonderful Moff Skellington. Regular readers will know of  my ongoing regard for the work of the High Priest of Eddodi and that regard continues to be nurtured, and indeed blossoms, with this latest collection of sixteen pieces.

For those who are not aware of his work Moff produces a completely unique sound merging rich and vibrant wordplay with a somewhat DIY collection of instruments – described on his website as accordion, melodica, harmonicas, whistles, ukulele, guitar, huttyphone, stylophone, bodhran, jaw harp, kalimba, dulcimer, metronome, tenor horn, baritone euphonium,  various percussion and elastic bands.

As usual there is a feast of lyrical athleticism – Moff plucks words out of the ether and re-arranges them in a completely unique and totally compelling way. This album is particularly full of memorable “Moffism’s”  – too many to mention and all rather special – there is some degree of continuity in parts with several references to molecules – and the usual bovine references – and the opening instrumental “House of New Bricks” is quoted in the words/music of the  penultimate “Four Peg Wooden Unit”.

Two of the tracks “Time for Nervous Questions In The Pub” and “Confident of Pending Treats” formed part of the six song set Moff recorded for my “Reformation” show (the other four appearing on last years “Embers from the Rapid Eye”  album) so there is some continuity between the last two albums. As is usual with Moff you know what you are  going to get – the difference with each album though is how he has progressed his art and which particular parts of the dreamscape he is addressing in this instance.

The opening “House of New Bricks” sets the scene with a stately waltz around the accordian with bluesy harp wailing – this soon transforms into the strange and somehow beautiful “Crap and Ugly Toys” which is Eddodi in its purest sense.  From there on we are gently led through a journey of fascinating words and unique music. The most recent “manifesto” of Moff’s work – whether it be his art or his music describes a reality comprising three interacting factors – octoberness, perfection and slapstick.  Simply put these three elements – anticipation, entropy, and the essentially comedic nature of existence – intertwine to allow innovation, expression and interpretation.

I am resisting the urge to release spoilers about the content of this album as I believe that the listener should absorb this marvelous stuff and draw their own conclusions from the text/sound. All I will say is that the other-worldliness of Moff’s output is never more apparent as it is here. He has always been unique. no one else is doing music like this – it just seems he has built on his work to date to create something rather special. Variety is the watchword here and it is all good. Comparisons, bench-marks, yardsticks etc are impossible so the listener needs to approach it from his/her perspective.

Highly recommended

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