Slender Sherbet Reviews
Melody Maker, November 25th 1995
Classic Songs Revisited
(17 tks / 76 mins)
THE poison boyfriend. The tender pervert. Momus has always, consistently, been one of the UK's greatest and most underrated songwriters.
In the past, Momus has been cast as a low fidelity Pet Shop Boy (lo fi due to the necessary slightness of budget) and I've heard him admit that he is an amalgamation of Neil Tennant / Chris Lowe's individual highbrow / lowbrow personality, that he loves clubbing and culture.
The release of a re-recorded, reappraised compilation of some of Momus' songs, then, is acutely pertinent. In the recently available 'Man Of Letters' video Momus is shown interviewing Jarvis Cocker. Cocker is introduced as being obscure for so long that even as recently as 1989 he wrote to Momus requesting he produced their record, and certainly, when I hear the revenge fantasies of Pulp's 'I Spy' I'm reminded of Momus's 'The Homosexual'. 'You who called me teapot, who plagued me with your bile / Guess who I've got coming to the boil?'
Three albums back, a rival music paper decided Momus was a misogynist and has barely wavered from the party line ever since. According to Momus (and this is important), 'if I was writing an article in a paper or summing up a rape case in court, I'd have to have a clear line on women. As a songwriter, I'm allowed to have 18 or 19 different lines... An interesting song starts from not having a clear position.' Momus is ambivalent, challenging, confusing, disturbing. If you need to exclude ambiguity from your life, you shouldn't buy this album.
Actually, I've been listening to 'Slender Sherbet' much more than 'Different Class'.
Q Magazine, February 1996
Cherry Red CDBRED 123
The title is an echo of his brilliant 1988 album Tender Pervert; appropriately for an album of "classic songs revisited". In most cases, the songs are not improved by these revisitations but the results are fascinating for devotees. Momus's songs of lust and sin and death have always been much too strong meat for the tastes of conservative record buyers and critics alike and here's why. The previously bouncy Complete History Of Sexual Jealousy is made queer and sad by its Stephen Hawking delivery and The Hairstyle Of The Devil benefits from this stripped down approach. Alternatively, I Was A Maoist Intellectual is ruined by being gruffly yelled but, at the very least, these versions are a reminder of Nick Currie's skewed genius.
Magic! Magazine, #6, January / February 1996
(Cherry Red /import)
A new album which isn't really one. Slender Sherbet is a collection of old Momus songs revisited by the master: seventeen titles recalling Nicholas Currie's first escapades, from his earliest imaginings on el to Don't Stop The Night, of which the title song was already a re-recording of Ballad Of The Barrel Organist, Momus's first single. A risky enterprise: the ardent Momus fan -- and there are at least two -- is likely to claim, as guardian of the temple, that nothing will ever match the originals on his beloved Poison Boyfriend, veritable melodic vignettes loaded with all the perversions of the world, or at least of their author. And the news of an album made up entirely of re-recordings inclines us to fear the worst. Which, here, never comes: these readings are sumptuous, iconoclastic or faithful, and prove the timelessness of Momus's compositions, oscillating between irony and voyeurism, always fragile but never surrendering to the mawkish, the syrupy, the fake.
Decried for his penchant for things intellectual -- you don't quote Bataille or Godard without paying the price -- Momus is finally nothing more or less than an assiduous observer, a self-proclaimed voyeur watching out for the slightest erectile reaction which, judging by Slender Sherbet, are rather frequent, thank you very much. It's a bit like rediscovering a first love, changed but the same, above all just as charming and exciting. God is a tender pervert and St Momus works miracles: just like in the song, let's implore him not to leave us.
(Translated from French)