Moff Skellington – Thorny Conduits
Uterus Cottage – Out Soon via http://www.moffskellington.org.uk
In a “proper” universe the likes of Moff Skellington, Kill Pretty, Factory Star, Sinister Chuckles, Toska Wilde & Luis Drayton, Trojan Horse, Taser Puppets, Silver Sound Explosion and Fall Fan Dave & The Lap Top Dancers (to name but a few) would be appearing on BBC2 on the Jools Holland Show and the not the usual tired parade of old hacks and newbie Clodplay/Snow Patrol copyists that have managed to shift into the hearing range of some A&R man somewhere in telly-visual land.
However the universe is not proper, it is mostly disappointing and vaguely thermodynamically heading towards a bit of a mess (according to that Newton chap) – so thank god for Mr Skellington and his utterly unique view of the world, he who can remove you from the everyday nonsense of condemnations and the juddering infrastructures of reality.
This is the eighteenth album emerging from the hive of production at Uterus Cottage in the peoples republic of Otley. And as with all of the previous Moff product it is both unique and instantly recognisable. Moff appears to be a little concerned as the potential “musicality” of this latest artefact – I have reassured him that, whilst there is a particular shift towards more obvious melodicism, there is still sufficient “eddodi/moff-ness” enthused/infused into it to reveal it as a genuine Skellngton album.
The thing that shines through is more use of the squeeze-box in this instance, however the usual Moff home-made instrumentation is still in place creating that unique and playful sound that we know and love. The use of ambient sounds – whether the chittering of some alien insect or the swirling sound of a distressed synthetic wind add colour and vibrancy to the serial nature of the riffs and melodies.
Lyrically he still retains a fascinating use of language that marks his best work – whether it be “Spudback Soldiers”, “Birds Eating Berries” or indeed “A Despond Bucket”. There are couple of shorter tracks (less than a minute) which provide for amusing interludes. Footwear appears to be theme running through a number of the presentations – a particular and peculiar outlook on the world – you have to listen to it to understand what I am going on about here.
The variety of voices he manages to use also creates a sense of theatre which is a hallmark of the best of his work. A case in point is the utterly marvellous “Hank Marvin’s Slippers” which manages to distill a cocktail of Frank Zappa, HMHB, post-punk, klezmer and eddodi in a fantastic and maddening other worldly dance of pure magic.
As usual I strongly recommend you listen to this marvellous album….and also to the rest of Moff’s fine body of work.
In respect of the use of the piano of the aforementioned Mr Holland on the next Moff Skellington album the general view is that “Jools” should be left to wallow in a hot tub with Seasick Steve and the rest of us will carry on in our parallel universe where things appear a little more, well, extraordinary.