Not New Music Tuesday
1988 Creation Records
"God is a tender pervert, and the angels are voyeurs" is the first line on Momus' 1988 album Tender Pervert. The opening song places God firmly in the role of pervert. Like a demented Rembrandt painting brought to life, Nick Currie vividly describes his aforementioned protagonist as he masturbates in the heavens, his sperm spewing across the Earth as a sort of cruel joke upon us mortals and "the way we hold out coffee cups, the way we choose our word".
Much Like God himself, Curry populates his album world full of lurid characters. With each song the listener is brought into the twisted and often brilliant mind of a dirty insecure Englishman. Some of these characters you might meet include the following. We have the closeted gay figure dancing team in "Love on Ice" who must deal with their repulsion of the opposite sex, their PR agent's cocaine habit, AIDS tabloid rumors and of course landing the perfect figure eight. There is the bitter young man of "The Homosexual" who uses his feminine charms (and advise from a homosexual gynecologist) to tease and fuck the wives and girlfriends of the men who mock his limp wristdness. Need something a little more political? Then you can hear the rise and fall of the protagonist of "I was a Maoist Intellectual" I won't even attempt to explain where that one goes.There is a bit of relief mid-album with the coupling of Ice King and Right Hand Heart. Two romantic and sweet but still fucked up love songs. He can do it all.
Synth-pop has often been utilized for it's sensual elements. Warm Leatherette and the like. Albums prior to this one found Momus writing magnificently twisted affairs, but ones that had a tendency to ramble on and becoming more of spoken word piece than actual songs. A fine example of this would be his debut Circus Maxmus which includes exasperating sex and violence filled yarns all about figures in the Bible. Here using the medium of "synth pop" has helped him to focus his songwriting energy and create what stands as still as one of if not his best work. Why is it out of print?
It's not hard to see why Momus has never received the accolades in America as he has in places like Japan. His music questions authority, sexual convention, intellectualism and most importantly the dark side of human desire. I am a fan of Momus's entire discography which spans nearly thirty years and almost every release finds Momus inventing, reworking or augmenting a style or convention and making it his own. Momus is a pervert and he is not afraid to let you know. I am not just speaking of pervert in the sexual sense, but also in the musical.
Momus has no respect for pop conformity or stupidity. It may isolate him from the majority of America (if they even had a chance to hear him)but time will show Nick Currie to be one of our generations greatest musicians.