Momus – Tender Pervert – 4.5/5
Continuing my ranting rave reviews of music I haven’t had the time to publicly acknowledge yet comes Momus, the avant-pop artist as much a philosophical poet as a panderer to simple melodies. If the name hasn’t already alluded as to the risqué subject matter to be explored, the opening track titled ‘The Angels are Voyeurs’ helps to complete the picture. Momus is really an eyepatch-wearing Scotsman using the Greek god of mockery’s pseudonym as his own, taking influences from everything and anything around him, speaking his mind in a manner that bears resemblance to Bowie, The Beatles and Pink Punk and frequently finding himself being sued for doing just that.
The main point to initially elaborate on is the concept of avant-pop; an inherently simplistic genre of music pushing the boundaries of what is possible to create within such a format by implementing strong outside influences from the likes of smooth jazz, folk melodies and an occasional fascination with the emerging popularity of the genre of ‘new wave,’ often using electronic synths to create his simplistic atmosphere, implementing the occasional oriental or otherwise unexpected styles to create a framework. But the music is not the real thing on display here, it simply feels tailored to emphasise the lyrical content.
That bittersweet catchy opening track contrasting the heavily anti-religious notion of masturbating angels with an easy to listen to motif; the rather shockingly honest ‘Charm of Innocence’ presenting part of the past of Momus that succeeds in combining horrifically dark poetry with gentle guitar lines; the twisted circus performance of ‘Love on Ice’ lyrically assaulting the tendency for the fickle west to tear down celebrities; it’s more than just philosophical ramblings, it feels personal. At times more confessional than anything else, he talks of his own past in a sincere self-deprecating manner that feels too bluntly honest to take as anything but face value, but its still not filled with self-loathing, instead demonstrating capable of mocking his own choices and accepting many truths about himself and the horrors of the world that surrounds him.
There is an odd sense of aggression to taking such a popular and openly accessible style of playing and using it as the medium to make your controversial point, advocating homosexual rights and openly criticising those who hide behind masks denying their true nature as he does so openly here, and it is the fact that he never shies away from the public eye, instead thrusting itself upon it so as to leave no confusion of the point being made that makes it unlike anything else. Through layers of wit and irony he makes his opinion gloriously apparent; it still has the simplistic and catchy sensibilities of pop music, but this is far from any form of mind-numbing drivel, succeeding in remaining both intelligent and addictive throughout a time when knowledge seems like a curse in the mainstream eye.
Highlights: Bishonen, A Complete History of Sexual Jealousy (Parts 17-24), The Charm of Innocence