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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Moloko June 21, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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Moloko – half Irish, half English. Dance and pop with an undertow of electronica, and then, later, a more organic sound. Big almost orchestral flourishes and smaller instrumental details. The name, taken from nadsat slang for milk in A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, appears suggestive, but of what exactly? Perhaps that Róisín Murphy and Mark Brydon had a very particular individual and musical aesthetic.

And yet it is strange, because in a way they were, and perhaps remain, ubiquitous. Wiki notes that the single Sing it Back appears on 100 compilations. Their sound, smooth, soulful and in a sense considered, could seem almost manufactured – just another dance/pop group. But then you hear that voice – those dramatic vocal mannerisms and characters that she assumes and those arrangements which blend the electronica, dance and an eclectic range of influences, and it’s clear they’re anything but just another group.

It’s in all the small touches, as well as the big baroque ones. The synth in Dumb Inc. that appears about half way through the song is none more 1980s… why is it there? What does it signify? Is it riffing (literally) on the lyric or is its something else. It’s that sort of an addition that makes them so fascinating and that seems to power them along to produce something that is catchy and compelling. Or Murphy’s ability to run through multiple vocal characterisations in the same sentence of a lyric, being both mocking and knowing (Brydon sings occasionally, as on the album “Things To Make and Do”).

Actually, thinking about it that album, now a whole 14 years old, remains an excellent testament to their music – as are all their albums – but perhaps it is the singles that they released across the decade or so long career that are most representative of their output. And representative only in their individuality. Indigo, The Time is Now, Sing it Back, Forever More, Familiar Feeling and so on are each near enough perfect tracks. Indigo with it’s none more entertaining and strange chanted chorus, Forever More is just a great pop song (and speaking of entertaining, check out the choreography in the video), and so on.

They called it a day in 2005 or 2006 and have worked on other projects, Murphy concentrating on a solo career which appears in no way to have seen any lessening of her personal aesthetic. Oddly enough, listening to them again the thought struck that they’d be perfect for a Bond theme (note the version of Familiar Feeling below). I see Murphy hasn’t ruled out a reunion, saying… ahem… ‘never say never’. So, maybe someday.

Familiar Feeling

The Time is Now

Sing it Back

Indigo

Forever More

Dumb Inc.

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Comments»

1. doctorfive - June 21, 2014
WorldbyStorm - June 21, 2014

Thanks a million, I didn’t catch it. Got to say she’s a real character and her approach is very admirable.

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2. L - June 21, 2014

Dave Cook, the guitar player, sang on “Things..” Mark says “I don’t know” very quietly on “Who shot..”

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WorldbyStorm - June 21, 2014

Didn’t realise that. Thanks.

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WorldbyStorm - June 21, 2014

Just on Brydon, and I’ve never delved too deeply into the division of labour in the group, he appears to be a great arranger as well as musician.

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L - June 23, 2014
WorldbyStorm - June 23, 2014

Excellent.

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