Books O Comics
106 Doves, Badly Drawn Boy
pop MOBY 18 fix/lute oooo
It’s pretty much how you expect a Moby album to be. Gutsy diva samples, easy listening electro-soundscapes, soul and gospel references and - and any minute now — absolutely ubiquitous. There’ll be no getting away from 18 this summer. It’ll be on every radio, every stereo, every advert. You’re as well learning to love it from the off.
And love it you will. Moby, you see, operates by stealth. On first encounter his music appears to lack depth: take a drum machine, a couple of big keyboard chords, a vocal sample and repeat for three minutes. For all of his eclectic influences, he has none of the everything-but- the-kitchen-sink complexity of magpies such as Beck or the Super Furry Animals. But repeated listens (and there will be many) reveal an inescapable logic to his compositions: not hidden depths exactly, but certainly hidden hooks. Pretty soon, as with his new single and album opener ‘We Are All Made Of Stars’, you won’t remember a time when 18 didn’t exist. It’ll be part of the furniture.
Which is odd because for all its chic fashionableness, there’s a clinical, characterless quality to Moby music. He
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doesn’t so much have soul as borrow it and pin it on. The closest you get to a distinctive voice of his own is on those few songs he chooses to sing himself, coaxing those endearing, frightened mouse vocals reluctantly to the fore. Modest Moby uses his music less as private expression than personal cloak.
But by playing the invisible man, he can be all things to all people. 18 — so called because it has eighteen tracks - marks no great departure for the baldie vegan, but it consolidates his strengths and will be lapped up by his fans. And because he’s that much more famous this time round, he’s been able to draft in a couple of big name chums to sing the songs he’s too shy to do himself: the raucous and dynamic rap of ‘Jam For The Ladies’ is graced by MC Lyte and Angie Stone, while Sinead O’Connor sings on the plangent ‘Harbour’.
The result is an album of toe-tapping variety, not one to raise the temperature but an old friend you’re happy to have around. Should you get it? Let’s face it: you won’t be able to escape it. (Mark Fisher)
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114 Fresh Air in London
1 16 Hemp clothing
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Pretty soon you won’t remember a time when 18 didn’t exist
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