Moloko - Do You Like My Tight Sweater?
It seems appropriate that the curious story of Moloko begins – almost a decade ago - with a salacious enquiry. Dublin-born Roisin Murphy’s early heroines were Kim Gordon and Kim Deal, so it was a little off-putting that her parents told her she had a lovely voice – just like Elaine Paige. Mark Brydon was already a veteran of the Sheffield scene and the legendary FON studios (for which he did the architects drawings), and had produced Krush’s seminal early pop/house hit ‘House Arrest’ among many other projects. They met at a party in Sheffield and, for obvious reasons, called their subsequent debut album Do You Like My Tight Sweater?.
side note: From what I've heard, these two people of Moloko met through that party at Moloko, and Roisin Murphy was hitting on Mark Brydon. Her pick up line, you ask? "Do you like my tight sweater? See how it fits my body"; hence, this strange album title.
Begun in 1994 and released in 1995, …Tight Sweater was both futuristic and out of time; a dayglo confection of warped funk, alien sensuality and wicked humour. Being a girl, a guy and a computer they were lumped in with the trip hop chancers of the day – although as Mark later pointed out, it was simply the modern way of making music and writing songs.
Moloko is a very different band that I discovered around a week ago. There sound caught my attention, and when I just happened to see one of their cd's at the record store, I just couldn't pass it by. When I put it into my cd player, my mind seemed to be doing loops. Moloko is one of those bands that gives you a particular feeling when you listen to their music. Their sound just catches you like no other band does, and it feels
different. Yes, this album is indeed not rock music, or anything close (which is the most common thing in my music collection).
I guess the best way to describe their sound is what I call electrofunk/cartoon trip-hop. They are indeed a trip-hop band, but their vocals are sung by Roisin Murphy, who sounds incredibly funky. Her voice is very beautiful, and if she were to sing pop music, she could make it far. But she decided to get into the electronics industry, and Moloko eventually took off. The reason why their music is described as electrofunk is due to the incredibly "funky" bass/synth lines, the drum beats, and Roisin's beautiful, funky voice. A weird mix? It works extremely well. You could indeed say that their music is real hip hop without rapping, but I knew that calling it something like that would turn the majority of you off, so I went even further with describing the sound. I got the cartoony trip-hop idea because this music is similar to a lot of trip-hop, and the album cover answers iti all. Those crazy cartoon-ish pictures fit
the music, and that's the easiest way to expain it.
Do you Like My Tight Sweater
is strange in so many ways. First, you are going to notice the catchy bass/synth lines and funky chopped drumming because I don't think it's that common no matter what you are fusing it with. Next, you will notice the insanely weird lyrics. Would I say they are incredibly random? Yes. Would I say that they make no sense whatsoever? Yes. But are they still really fun to listen to? Yes. And with that, it cancels out the other two negatives. If Moloko had serious, typical lyrics, I think this album would be boring.
I don't feel that I will be able to do a track-by-track on this cd. One, for the length (17 songs) and two, trip-hop reviews would be way too repetitive.
Besides the full length 7:00 minute groovy fests, Moloko likes to throw in quite a few twenty second songs that capture the weirdness/ambience even more. The first one, "Tight Sweater"... is a bit creepy, actually, but it really blends in with the rest of the album.
A few of my favorite songs
- "Do you like my tight sweater............? SEE HOW IT FITS MY BODY" are the only words in the song. It's only 20 seconds long, and this sound clip is just strange and creepy. Out of all the short sound clips, this is my favorite.
Circus comes in a very, very close second. If they would have made Circus into a full song, this would easily be the best song.
I Can't Help Myself
- The lyrics by themselves do it for me in this song. They are random, they are strange, and the fit. Again, the percussion and bass/synth lines are very good, and Roisin's voice is really sexy on this song. Yes, sexy. I guess you could compare her to those people that go to those verbal poetry competitions (in the verse)
- Now this song is definately one of the funky ones. Especially the intro. Typical funk style stuff (if there is a typical style...) Besides that part, I'd say it's more of a hip-hop based song. No, there isn't rapping, but I can see people like Jay-Z or somebody using the background music. Again, I love Roisin's voice in this song. Seeeeeeeeeeeeeexy.
- The intro is my favorite part. It mixes a symphony, and Roisin's voice in a synthesizer, and mixes it all up. The verse is again, incredibly hip-hop-ish, but I like what they do with these songs.
- The intro sounds like Roisin is the narrator, and you are traveling through a metallic bunny hole... Don't ask. That is the best way to explain it. The verse sounds like downtuned power chords played fast and heavy. This is definately the heaviest thing on here, but it still isn't rock music. It's heavy in a different way. Roisin shows off her vocals a bit more on this song. Another plus on this song is the weird sound samples. They mix ambient stuff with Roisin saying something that's really high pitched, over and over again, also mixed with a dog ripping something apart... Definately a highlight of the album.
- This is a more than decent album. Yes, it definately isn't for everyone, but if you can get into this stuff, you will love it. especially in the dark. This album sounds best when you can't see a thing
Moloko came out with a few more albums, but I don't think any made it to the USA.
A Worthy purchase? Definately. This is a great addition to my music collection. It's not only a fun listen, but it adds variety to my collection.
However, like a lot of techno/electronica/trip-hop, this album can get a little too repetitive at times, and that's one of the main reasons why I have a hard time listening to some bands like that.
- A sturdy 3.5/5
. Not too low, not too high.
If you are incredibly open to all types of music, by all means, download/buy a Moloko cd. By incredibly open, you have to be willing to listen to electronica hip-hop-ish stuff with funky vocals and weird rhythms. I will tell you this now; I doubt the majority of you would like this, but there's definately a handful of you guys that could enjoy this. It took me a few listens to get into, but eventually, it's worth it.
Thanks for reading my review.