The Guild of Distant Relatives
The album plus three other Moff releases (The Pukes of a Hot Cloister, Embers from the Rapid Eye and Thorny Conduits) will be available for free download from Bandcamp in early 2013 – you will be able to make a voluntary contribution to UNICEF should you so desire.
So here we are with artefact number 20 from that hot bed of creativity known as Uterus Cottage and, it goes without saying, it is as marvellous as the preceding 19 similar pieces.
Mr Skellington is in fine form again with his usual collection of sideways-on looks at the world. The great man has advised me by analogue communication methods that he considers this to be a 4/4 percussive “dance-o-tronic” selection of pieces. In the most part the description is correct – we have fourteen slices of pure Eddodi varying from up tempo and bouncy to slowish and ambient. The use of non-traditional instrumentation is perhaps more evident than in the previous three releases mentioned above and Moff reflects a more avant-garde approach musically whilst sounding a tad more accessible in terms of the words (I use the word “tad” with a degree of trepidation if you have not heard his other work).
My immediate thoughts revolved around comparisons with Talking Heads, The Residents and Pere Ubu given the other worldly nature of some of the material. The use of spoken word is also perhaps more apparent perhaps than of late.
This is uniquely English (as it usually is) and steadfastly northern but in terms of subject matter – which varies from bags of compost, shadowy figures that inhabit moorlands, and a dead person that follows their killer around – it inhabits a range of different places in your mind’s eye.
I’m reluctant to single out specific tracks as the whole album is excellent but I will point out a few. “Bulking Up On Special Custards” finds Moff getting into a funky groove with a set of lyrics which, as usual defy convention, but are immediately memorable. “Shallows Windows In the Ice Reveal” enters a parallel universe where beacons of intelligent rust block carriageways and people sip Staffordshire Tea. “The Harryhausen Bounce” has an amazing set of guitar riffs which would not have been out of place on “Trout Mask Replica”. The opening two tracks “My Upholstered Flask” and “Hiding from Mrs Maynard” are remarkably good also and a good place to start if you want to receive your first dose of Eddodi.
This album is in the great tradition of luminaries such as Don Van Vliet, Ivor Cutler, David Thomas, Salvador Dali and Mr Wong who used to run the chippy on Lower Broughton Road – essential listening for people who love music that does not fit in with the middle-mass. And whilst the apparently delusional music critics of the Guardian are voting for the vocoderised twee pop of Carly Rae Jepson as their track of the year I shall be stubbornly non-conformist and advise you to grab this and the other 19 albums by Moff Skellington and treat yourself to some quality.