Philosophy Of Momus Reviews

The Independent, Friday July 14th 1995
The Philosophy Of Momus
Cherry Red CD BRCD 119

The laconic anthropologist returns, with more hugely intelligent, hugely entertaining musings on contemporary mores. Whether speculating upon the sadness of things, analysing Lee Perry's paranoia as a self-fulfilling prophecy, or simply advocating androgyny, Nick "Momus" Currie's tone is urbane, witty and always perfectly measured: in these songs, he manages the difficult trick of applying a veneer of tinder-dry irony without betraying the essential sincerity of his enquiries.

Using arrangements custom-built to fit the individual songs, from the hollow, tick-tock synth-pop of "Quark and Charm, the Robot Twins" to the bland envelopement of "The Loneliness of Lift Music", Currie scans his surroundings with the dispassionate delicacy of a dilettante. "It's Important to be Trendy" is about as blunt as he gets, a deadpan enumeration of the more risible of trends, from 8-track players and analogue synths to cool (but useless) bands and body-piercing, all occasioning exactly the same degree of futile fascination.

It's exactly the kind of thing The Pet Shop Boys are routinely praised for, but Momus goes beyond their basic observational mode to a more speculative zone of commentary, studded with pithy apothegms like "Those who say no one is better than anyone think that they're better for saying it." Perfectly true, of course, but nobody likes a smart-arse.

New Musical Express, May 20th 1995
The Philosophy Of Momus
Cherry Red CD Only

Winner of every 'Pop's Mr Smartarse' competition since 1983, Momus is a songwriter who is not afraid of being thought pretentious. It does, after all, only take him two songs before he has quoted T.S. Eliot (twice), and referred to one 19th century cartoonist, one painter, and one playwright. So be warned.

All this cultural reference is what Nick Curry uses to build up 'The Momus Character': an urbane, well-educated young fogey not infrequently to be found luring young persons back to his flat on the promise of puppies and a weak lemon drink. An interlude of moral huffing is possible at this point, but as he is eager to point out, these songs are about characters and not him, and their effect is to create a dark, amoral world.

'The Philosophy Of Momus' is as intense and witty an LP as it is possible for a man cursed with a Neil Tennant whine and a Casio VL-Tone keyboard to make, and it's all about sex. Sex for sale. Sexually-transmitted disease. And, of course, virtual sex.

It is with this sudden leap of topicality that Momus finally threatens to leave behind the early-80s world of musty paperbacks and Felt records that threatened to swallow him up. Witness the fusty Momus as he surfs the 'Net, and creates virtual women. Watch him visit Japan and hang out with the Femicons in 'Girlish Boy'. And finally relish the highly amusing bitterness with which he celebrates the spread of 'Fashion Viruses'. "First I'm going to pierce my penis," he announces, "then I'm going to pierce my eye/Get a tattoo on my anus/I'm a trendy guy".

Perhaps he's becoming a Leonard Cohen for the '90s. He is old, and he wears his trousers rolled, you see. (7)

John Robinson

Melody Maker, June 28th 1995
The Philosophy Of Momus
Cherry Red CD BRED 119
(19 tks/70 mins)

No, no no, little Momus.

A jamboree bag of aphorisms does not make a philosophy. You are not Nietzsche. You may be La Rochefoucauld. And this eclectically disguised repulsion-at-sex does not make a good LP. You are not Delicatessen. You may be the Pet shop Boys. In other words, little Momus, you are not brilliant. You may be OK. Your OK-ness relies on whether or not the idea of Nick Drake having a Casio instead of a guitar is a good one. For the first three tracks on this LP, it definately isn't. But, for much of the rest, it does seem quite attractive. But best not to listen to the record TOO hard, eh? That way, the featherweight sheen of the sound of it won't collapse under the lightweight cod-philosophising of the sense of it. Someone's had too much to think.

I'd rather hear you getting worked up about the beauty of little boys than worrying about eating a peach. La Rochefoucauld said, 'The weak cannot be sincere,' and you are positively puny - so when you witter on about the vacuum at your centre or how 'Intimacy never came easy to me', not only do I not believe you, I don't care. But when you sing such seductive nonsense as 'I'm in the lady, tell me there's a baby' and dress it up in the wicked musical wit of 'Withinity', I believe you're almost as good as you think you are. Almost.