Sub Pop (label)
23 March 2020 (released)
23 March 2020
In 2020, as the world’s either burning whilst turning, aflood with blood or spluttering to extinction (depending on the storyteller), where be the talismen, the avatars, the light-guides? Behold, fallowed be thy name and that name is Moaning.
Comprised of vocalist/guitarist Sean Solomon, bassist/keyboardist Pascal Stevenson and drummer Andrew MacKelvie the group have beefed up their sound with an electronic edge applying a tech-tonic tilt to pre-known terrain.
Frontman Solomon has forgone the demon drink with his new-found sobriety a sanctuary, creating a literary space that informs this album: be it Mark Fisher’s abstract articulations or Alain de Botton’s deep-set musings, in this case abstinence makes the art go ponder.
On second album, ‘Uneasy Laughter’ polymath rock trio Moaning time-travel and rhyme-unravel back to early 1980’s for all our (God for)sakes.
Moaning go where others fear to dread. That fertile period’s exoteric experimentalism was instilled with a deep-rooted desire to forge new futures and purge pasts with new technologies and ideologies, creating (terror)visions that were informed by a precarious global environment. The threat of nuclear annihilation cast a long shadow. That shadow of uncertainty (ma)lingers and (g)looms in new (dis)guises today.
Over thirteen tracks Solomon’s laconic tones are barely raised above the ‘miffed’ stage, let alone moaning and groaning. This disaffected and barely bothered presence-essence (littered with pithy epigrams) is a paradoxically strangely comforting and an affecting head-fellow. If you let him in.
Opener, the propulsive ‘Ego’ asks you to relinquish the demon self, defer the death drive, to see the gap between ‘the highest high to the lowest low’. Betwixt this intoxicating rush is where the real ‘you’ lies.
Cease to persist: ‘Make it stop’ lifts Keith Levene’s wail-scaling guitars from Public Image Limited’s 1983 ‘This is not a love song’. John Lydon’s fait accompli to the vagaries of affection permeate this album.
‘Running’ is a metronomic chase scene, the sonic equivalent of being shadowed and trailed by the hounds of Help.
I am your dice of life: the jerking ‘Coincidence or fate’ posits ‘is every experience a sensory deja view, is life’s randomness an illusory reiteration before it ‘begins’ again?’ Solomon plaintively pleads ‘How did I get here … what have I done wrong?’ in an awkward dance of circumstance.
‘///’ and ‘//////////’ are Eno-esque ambient traipses, instead of an airport these soundtrack the more banal dead-zones of shopping centres with their psychic assault and battery.
‘Life is plagiarism’ the band admit on ‘What separates us’, but as the maxim goes, ‘talent borrows, genius steals’