Melody Maker, 4.11.89
MOMUS DON'T STOP THE NIGHT Creation
WHAT is it with Momus? How does this soft and tender poet lead his life guided by what dangles between his legs? He's always been a randy sod, a sly and shy sexual politician, noting the plays and ploys in the battle of the sexes. He's always known exactly how many notches his bedhead houses. But never has sex dominated his worldview quite this exclusively.
Every LP he's ever made should be called 'Momus Gets His End Away'. Or 'Confessions Of A Bedsit Poet'. But this time he opens up his dirty mac and exposes a sonic Forum. 'Trust Me I'm A Doctor' sets the tone, hanging on the poignant vignette 'I may touch you in the course of your cure / In a sexual way'. It's about a sexually jaded but roused physician getting his oats with a patient in his car. Blimey, mate. That's going it a bit. Hippocratic Oath not in force round these parts, then?
I've seen Momus the chat-up merchant in action. He came to a party of mine. He was bloody good, apart from when one girl told him to f-'off. Nobody here does that. They all get swayed by Momus, seduced by his silver tongue. As well they might. And in 'Against Women Only' the canny voyeur luridly depicts a woman masturbating, intoning 'She arouses herself / To her crisis herself' over soft porn moans and groans. Surely this man is the son of Sid The Sexist!
Which isn't true, of course. 'Don't Stop The Night' is superbly realised, clinically crafted, one man's brilliant obsession. Musically, he's moved from acoustic strum to muted disco stomp, but that's neither here nor there. There's fine poetry, especially on 'Shaftesbury
Avenue', a snapshot of the whores, stars and starstruck of the West End, and 'The Cabriolet', a paean to necrophilia.
So here's Momus, still paranoid, mixed up, lusty, getting it, writing fine languid comedy. Still organising Sex Maniacs' Balls. He aims his tongue at your ear. Grasp him to your heart. But keep your bed to yourself.
Don't Stop The Night
IF RECORDS had cast lists, if they wore their dramatis personae on their sleeves, most of them wouldn't make it past opening night. All those tired, 40 minute farces full of bloated rockers, feebly bleating nightclub divas and bad Lou Reed impressions. Who'd bother?
But only a fool could ignore this record, featuring as it does Martin Amis, Henry Kissinger, Sigmund Freud and key members of the board of directors of Lohnro with additional music by Donna Summer, Pet Shop Boys, Burt Bacharach and SAW. Momus, aka Nick Currie, is probably the most unique voice operating in pop today and 'Don't Stop The Night' is further testament to the macabre brilliance of his fetid imagination.
Those of us weaned on '88's 'Tender Pervert' will be glad to know that the central pillars of Currie's musical philosophy remain intact; namely black humour, immoralism and misanthropy. What emerges more powerfully than ever before is that Currie is a pastichiste (alright, I made it up) par excellence.
'Have You Met My Sister?', the tale of a social climber's manipulation of his beautiful sibling, would be fun in itself, but add some doo-wop rubbing awkward shoulders with a Hiphop beat and the result is sublime. 'Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous' both parodies and celebrates the tinsel universe of Stock, Aitken and thingy.
Elsewhere, as expected, the going is not for the squeamish. 'The Guitar Lesson' is a beautiful song about a very unsavoury subject; a sexual tryst between a man and a 12-year-old girl. 'The Cabriolet' is similarly haunting and sinister; a love story set in the wreckage of a carcrash. But it needs to be said that there is nothing remotely salacious or exploitative here. This is class stuff. When Currie sings 'the pupil's face is calm as if listening to the distant sound of a burglar alarm' you realise how downright dull most pop lyrics are.
There's a whole world out there who'll hate this but for those of us who prefer a drop of the hard stuff, this is Christmas come early. (9)
SINGLE OF THE WEEK
'Hairstyle Of The Devil'
If you want a new hero, a new Morrissey, then look no further. Nick Currie (alias Momus) is disturbed in the most charming, quotable way. His neurosis and his songs are one and the same thing. He's a Goddam genius, a maverick. Listening to a Momus song is like reading a book (twice!). It's something you need to digest, unlike most pop you can't flick through the pages and just look at the pretty pictures. If you've never heard of Momus then this is a good place to start. Set to a New Order (or is it Pet Shop Boys) dance riff, our new found hero tells the sorry tale of the woman who invented acid house and her bitter ex-lover. 'Hairstyle Of The Devil' is a twisted pop masterpiece that will probably never be heard in Britain but get to number one in Luxembourg.
The Right Side Of Oblivion
MOMUS 'Don't Stop The Night'
THIS IS the sound of abandoned compulsion. From the plaintive songs of Jacques Brel to the weirdo warbling of the Acid House pulsebeat, Momus has infected every musical style he's touched with his own peculiar sense of wilful melancholy. Everything's tinted with his bleak sexually disinterested intimacy, a feeling that's emphasised by the opening 'Trust Me, I'm A Doctor'.
Here Momus intermingles otherworld guitar sounds with an acidic squelch, while declaring frozenly, "I've long since lost all interest in feelings of pleasure and pain/I don't ever expect to feel those feelings again" . The wonder is that we can feel his loss, that we can sense his obvious delight in the unorthodox and irregular ('Righthand Heart', 'Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous').
It's not just that Momus, along with his music, exists on the "Right side of oblivion" , rather it's his proximity to the neutral gender of people like Morrissey and Neil Tennant that makes him so compelling. Like the latter pair and despite his obvious 'love' for women, their form and seductive qualities (both mental and physical), you can't see him being aroused by anything.
Just as Momus exists outside the normal constraints of sexuality, so his music achieves a breathless, instantly sexual appeal (perhaps because of his very unavailability). It's a long way from the acoustic strum of his earlier 'Circus Maximus', but it's also a distance from last year's 'Tender Pervert', his most concrete self-depiction to date.
At turns revisionist, recalling the jaded funk of early '70s disco, futurist, distanced and horribly intimate in a way that only the truly celibate can be, 'Don't Stop The Night' is a perfect continuation of Momus' intimate outbursts.
Warmly, perversely awesome.