Melody Maker, July 1992
What's happened to Momus? Somewhere between his seventh and eighth albums, Nicholas Currie has switched from black and white TV to full colour Virtual Reality. But the most revealing thing I can say about 'Voyager' is that I heard it three times before I even noticed the lyrics. For one who took such pride in his exquisite turn of phrase (see the collected 'Lusts of a Moron', available in all good bookshops and probably quite a few bad ones) this is nothing short of revolutionary. Throughout these ten tracks, words are only an intermittent distraction, a barely audible murmur.
'Voyager' is awash with luxuriant synths and awe-inspiring vistas, on a trajectory between St Etienne, PM Dawn and The Orb. The semi-hallucinatory title track - a whirlwind of distant air raid sirens and Love Unlimited strings - could be a New Order B-side (compliment!). Basically, no-one will believe this is Momus.
Thematically (when you do finally notice, that is) he's crawled blinking into the sunlight and grabbed a window seat on a Trans-Europe Express train. The overwhelming ambience is transit: the words "Trans-Pacific", "Trans-Atlantic" and "Trans-Siberian" make regular appearances. The male introspection and libidinous revelations have been replaced either by a sigh of sexy resignation at the state of the planet or eyes-wide wonder at the beauty of it all.
In 1988, Momus expressed the (ironic) ambition to become the Pet Shop Boys. His perfectly-elocuted spoken voice (reputedly the result of having a tyrannical English Phonetics professor for a father) is forever being compared to Neil Tennant. In fact their careers began roughly simultaneously, and Momus has at least as many imitators himself (Frazier Chorus, Toasted Heretic, NoMan). But once or twice on 'Voyager', you get the impression the frustration has finally got the better of him. 'Virtual Reality', which lifts the riff from 'Domino Dancing' wholesale, and the irritating scherzo 'Vocation', all maudlin PSB double-tracked helium backing vox, can only be considered an almighty pisstake.
But the comparison is irrelevant - Momus is way further out there. 'Voyager' is the album The Pet Shop Boys wouldn't dare make.
New Musical Express
Voyager (Creation/All formats)
JUST AS the misogyny on the 'Hippopotomomus' album came as no rude surprise (ugly men get their hatred of women along with their milk teeth and, let's face it, Momus makes Nosferatu look like a Chippendale) so 'Voyager', is about as technologically exciting as the inner workings of a waffle-maker.
To get in the right mood for this album, one would have to spend an entire weekend swapping Star Trek bubblegum cards and Out Of Body experiences with the likes of William Orbit, Mick Fleetwood and David Icke, pausing only occasionally to sacrifice a Cyber-virgin or re-light the Yin-Yang candle. Even then, if you're not a fan of the Pet Shop Boys' most-binnable moments, forget it.
If music be the food of love, 'Voyager' could satisfy only those who live to banquet on Neil Tennant's discarded nail clippings, though to be fair, there are oodles of squeaky, tasteless, ambient droppings for those who like a bit of variety.
The much-vaunted 'sci-fi' fixation has translated here into
little more than a misguided desire on the part of Momus to
make all his song titles sound like provincial branches of the Gary Numan fanclub and, of these, only 'Spacewalk' and 'Conquistador' see Momus briefly up-periscope through the slime of self-infatuation and dust of borrowed ideas.
For the rest read dozy melodrama, yesterday's drugs and the terrible sound of a creative leper trying to re-dress his sores with the bandage of technology. So, get back to the acoustic room, Momus. By this showing, technology not only refuses to be your friend, it never really wanted to get introduced.