And so we are back in state of nirvana with the release of a brand new album from the incomparable Moff Skellington.
And this time around it’s a stripped down affair due to the failure of various key bits of recording apparatus at Moff HQ.
The 12th solo album in the Skellington canon is more “Eddodi” of late and I welcome this. Where Moff allows his particular perspective on the universe free rein I do feel he further demonstrates his unique qualities.
The opener – and title track – is an other worldly experience in the way only Moff can deliver- a circular guttural rhythmic pattern underlays a paean to holidays on the eastern seaboard of Lincolnshire. This reminds me on so many levels of family holidays in “Skeggy” when I was a lad. Whether I had a “dangerous egg on my jumper” or “asked ladies for orange squash” I don’t know, but I do recall being “barefoot in the sludge” on the beach. Moff’s ability to distill the cultural peculiarities of post-war english holidays is beautiful as he delivers the words with a world weary feel that is particularly apposite.
Matters cheer up slightly for a Attenboroughesque dialogue on the world of the “Wind Box Chickens” – although I don’t ever remember Sir David ever being this interesting.
A goodly part of the 14 tracks reflect to some degree, in a para-autobiographical fashion, on Andy’s recent illness. The slightly scary “Hydrothermal Vents” – full of off kilter rhythms and strange echoings – talks of palpitations and succulent mould clovers. “Fetch The Doctor” mines Residents territory – in a Skellington stylee – with tales of household accidents, and “Lamentation For A Piss Bottle” reflects on the problems of micturition for those confined to a hospital bed.
Andy’s use of language is at its’ most impressive on the memorable “Cripplestring” which is a multi-layered piece which evokes Mervyn Peake, “William Island” has a nod towards mid period Waits with a nicely realised repetition at the end of each line, “A New Town Under The Lake” feels like a strange children’s story with it’s wailing jazz like Huttyphone – the words come at you a rapid pace and it takes time to absorb all the nuances. Similarly “The Simpleton’s Friendly Boat” creates an alien soundscape and both a chilling and compelling atmosphere.
“Another Myoclonic Jerk” carries on from a track on “The Guild Of Distant Relatives” and considers jumping houses, shawls and hedge berries; “A Dream of Agriculture” considers rural matters – essentially the movement of a particular theme in the Skellington schema – that of the bovine and their habits. Is there some conceptual continuity emerging I wonder?
“The School Of Hollow Meat” is back to giant eyeball territory with some particularly visceral noises dropping in and out of the mix. “The Seaside At Christmas” has a nursery rhyme feel – albeit a somewhat nightmareish one. The closing “Ewans Jellyfish Fragment” is a short coda to a marvellous piece of work.
Altogether more restrained and introspective than some of the recent albums – at least on a musical level – this 12th album finds Moff still on top form with his use of words to create stunning imagery. There is a slightly claustrophobic feel to the material but that does not diminish its ability to both create enjoyment but also to consider how language can be used in an entirely different way in art and music.
It goes without saying that I recommend this unreservedly to you.
You can order this release from the Moff Skellington Website.