Tuesday, August 16, 2011


The chosen name of the band of Bill Botting (bassist in Allo Darlin') and Nik Vestberg suggests they may not be taking themselves entirely seriously. And then the sci-fi B movie dialogue-sampling ’Intro’ that opens their debut album suggests more tongue-in-cheek goofiness. But this is followed by 'Talk Along' a touching ode, all gentle restraint and lush melodies, about how touring musicians maintain long-distance relationships by listening to each other’s songs in the dark (“it’s the closest I get to talking to you these days”). It does indeed as the lyrics suggest make you want to burst like a heart-shaped balloon. Of course it is the exception.

The majority of the album that follows is twee casio-pop that mixes wide-eyed Jonathan Richman sugariness with skits and songs about movie action heroes, horror flick clich├ęs, death curses and dinner parties with Billy Joel, Werner Herzog and Milla Jovovich ("I’ll... ask for her advice about killing zombie dogs"). It’s like a cocktail of The Moldy Peaches, Milky Wimpshake and The Twilight Zone served up as peppy party tunes and silliness with vocal duties shared between Vestberg and Botting. If a song ('We Need More Awesome') that praises Schwarzenegger’s “Predator” not just as a good night-in but as a life-lesson for an unborn son about machine guns and killing aliens doesn’t raise a guilty smile this may not be the record for you – but if not Pulitizer Prize profoundity there is more to Moustache of Insanity than pop culture-referencing lunacy.

Despite the daftness and zombies (see also single ‘Lynn Lowry’ a homage to the cult horror movie actress favoured by George Romero and David Cronenberg, and an indie-pop mirror-image distortion of The Go-Betweens’ ‘Lee Remick’), “Album of Death” never descends (to these ears) to annoying fannying around. In fact the refined 'Dinner Party' edges towards the louche Cole Porterisms of Stephin Merritt and 'Superiority Complex' suggests the assured sway of Jens Lekman. And in ‘Dancing For Emma’ the duo manage to combine dancing and revolution effortlessly without appearing earnest or ridiculous. Well, maybe a bit ridiculous.

So yes it's cheesy, yes sounds at times like rehearsal room sketches and childish jokes, and yes "Album of Death" is littered with swearing and exclamation marks, but even with (or because of?) a lean 23 minute running time, the smiles outweigh the groans, the tunes reward repeated plays and there is a depth peeking out from behind the goofiness.

“Album of Death” is jointly released on Pull Yourself Together and Fika Recordings next week on limited edition vinyl and CD versions.

Argh! No! - Moustache of Insanity by FollyOfYouth

Moustache of Insanity - Lynn Lowry by pullyourselftogether

Moustache of Insanity Album of Death [BUY]

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