There are some words you never expect to have to type out next to each other. ‘ Electro mariachi music’ are three such words, but then along comes the fourth album from Moongoose.
Moongoose are David ‘Yorkie’ Palmer, ex-bassist from Space and all round local legend, along with guitars from Paul Cavanagh and video treatments from Mark Jordan. (Incidentally, can I say how much I love seeing a video person listed as a band member. It shows a post punk sensibility and takes me back to the heady days of early gigs from the like of Cabaret Voltaire and the Human League.)
Moongoose have had an enigmatic path to this their fourth album. EPs were slowly leaked out, there was a gig in a cinema, the occasional burst of activity on social media, and two under the radar albums. But nothing that prepared us for Tokyo Glow.
Tokyo Glow has taken this writer completely by surprise. The Moongoose tracks I’ve heard so far have been very good indeed, but when taken together in one hit like this, the effect is to be unexpectedly plunged into another world.
All 10 tracks on Tokyo Glow are instrumentals. But really they are much more than this; they are soundtracks. Listening to this album is like watching a film in your own imagination; by the end you feel like you have watched a Blade Runner style spaghetti western from beginning to end.
The songs that make up Tokyo Glow are expansive in both scale and ambition. Opener Bullet introduces us to the aforementioned electro mariachi, which is catchy as hell and an irresistible call to move. Imagine this playing over an epic Tarantino film trailer.
But one of the albums strengths is that no two tracks sound the same, yet they all sound like Moongoose.
Track 2, Tokyo Aflame, is another upbeat track, rich in atmosphere and texture. A soundtrack to a Bond film, should they ever get around to making a good one again.
A Floating World calms things down and would not sound out of place playing at the Café Del Mar, soundtracking an Ibizan sunset.
This is carried over into Sleep to Disappear and actually, most of the album. By this point, it is easy to forget that we are listening to just one band and not a mix CD that has been expertly put together to take the listeners on a journey. The range of feelings, moods and sounds is astonishing.
To listen to Tokyo Glow on headphones is to be carried away on a near psychedelic journey, blissed out and happy.
By the time the title track closes the album, we have come a long way together, Moongoose and I.It has been a journey of spiritual peaks, my own visuals and Moongoose’s extraordinary vision.
It is a journey I will be repeating many time over the coming months and years. This is an album that will stay with me, we will become firm and lifelong friends.
Undoubtedly one of the year’s finest albums, Tokyo Glow is just superb. – Banjo
Moongoose/Odeon, Liverpool ONE
A CINEMA is not the first place that you would expect to see a live music gig - and certainly not one of today’s modern compact cinema auditoriums.
Back in the 1950s and 1960s, when cinemas were more like theatres, complete with a stage, it was not uncommon for bands to perform. Indeed The Beatles performed at The Embassy Cinema, in Peterborough, in 1962.
Move forward 50 years to 2012 and Liverpool band Moongoose have taken live music back to the cinema with ‘Organic Technology: Reaction Music 2’ which had its live premiere at The Odeon, Liverpool One, on Monday 2 July.
According to Dave ‘Yorkie’ Palmer who is the mentor of the band, and a man with a long history in the Liverpool music scene, the reason they chose The Odeon over somewhere like FACT was because they felt that a performance at the latter would be perceived more as ‘art’ and the idea was for it to be accessible on all levels without a preconceived label.
Moongoose are not the only musical entertainment for the evening as support is from special guests Dave Jackson & The Cathedral Mountaineers. Dave Jackson, like Yorkie, also has a great pedigree having performed with The Room, Benny Profane, Dust and Dead Cowboys and the performance includes selections from his current CD, Cathedral Mountain, along with some oldies. The set is acoustically driven with two guitars, keyboards and drums. Dave has a great voice that captivates and charms and is accompanied by a bevy of girlie backing singers and they are right on the button.
There is a brief interval before Moongoose take to the stage during in which time there is a lady with her tray in the aisle, but no ice creams just CDs.
Moongoose comprises Yorkie on bass, Paul Cavanagh on guitar, Alex Griffiths on guitar, Marc Jordan on keyboards and visuals, Daniel Spiers on drums and special guest Andy Diagram (James, David Thomas, Spaceheads, The Pale Fountains, Diagram Brothers) on trumpet.
The title ‘In A Recurring Dream’ flashes onto the big screen as the music starts… a burbling synth punctuated with a gong like stab… the band are pretty much in darkness below the screen and one’s attention is held by the images - moving, melting and merging, swirling, exploding and fading away.
The overall volume is no louder than the soundtrack to a movie, which is exactly what it is.
A band performing in the dark with no spotlights lends itself to a cohesive performance. There are no prima donnas seeking the adulation of the audience, and playing to an accompanying video backdrop leaves no room for self indulgent meandering solos which means the band perform as a tight unit closely following the music score.
We slip into the next track ‘When Shadows Fall’ closely followed by ‘And From My Window I Look Down On Skyscrapers’ the tune that introduces Andy Diagram. He picks up his trumpet and treats us to his sublime talent with a soaring solo that starts muted at first before rising to the forefront of the track weaving its magic along the way with a vague reminiscence of Mark Isham.
I continue to be mesmerised by the big screen images and spend little time paying attention to the band and that, as I understand it, is how Yorkie and co intended it to be with the visuals taking the place of a vocalist; telling the stories of their ‘wordless songs’.
Each track is announced merely by the title flashing up and each alludes to your imagination even before the images and music start.
The title track is next followed by ‘At Silver Blades’ which at under two minutes is a jaunty tune with a hint of fairground accompanied by visual recollections of skating on the ice at Silver Blades in Prescot Road, sad to say, the ice rink was demolished some years back.
I am reminded of the opening lines of the Theme From S-Express ‘Enjoy this trip, enjoy this trip and it is a trip’ as this is not like a normal concert it is a sensory assault of sight and sound and I am captivated by it.
Unlike the many rock concerts which include big projections behind the band’s performance (and showing my age I am reminded of Nektar, Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come and Hawkwind) the big screen here is the main part of the show and not tucked behind the band as an afterthought. It is a brilliant concept and executed perfectly.
Review by Chris Currie presenter of The Late Zone on 7 Waves 92.1
Moongoose score for the big screen at Odeon
NOBODY has played a gig in a cinema in Liverpool since the 1960s, according to Moongoose. But with a set of melody, heavily influenced by the great movie score writers, they are the perfect band to put that right.
There used to be a place for instrumental music in popular music, too, and David “Yorkie” Palmer's dreamy instrumental and visual ensemble are re-asserting that place.
The band will be performing a special multimedia show at the ODEON cinema, Liverpool One, on Monday July 2, 2012.
MoongooseMoongoose's music draws from a great lineage of instrumental and cinematic scores: the sounds of John Barry, Ennio Morricone, John Carpenter and Jerry Goldsmith.
They are Ones To Watch, in every sense.
With band member Mark Jordan at the helm of the visuals, their gigs aim to be a wondorous, otherworldly experience, where the backdrop is the frontman, if you like.
Yorkie, one time bassist in Space - among many other things - explains it.
Why a cinema?
It makes perfect sense to us, as we grew up loving the cinema, and have been captivated by its essence ever since.
As schoolboys, myself and Mark used to be completely into 70s science fiction films...
Major InfluenceSuch as?
Planet Of The Apes, Logan’s Run, The Illustrated Man, Demon Seed, THX1138, Rollerball, Death Race 2000, the list was endless.
So we see.
There were also things like Earthquake, The Towering Inferno, etc
And the things they came from: Land Of The Giants, The Time Tunnel, Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea, Irwin Allen at his best.
What can people expect if they turn up at the Odeon?
Standard rock venues are quite frustrating for us, as the visuals are supposed to be upfront: more like our singer or frontman.
Usually they end up placed behind us and form, essentially, a moving backdrop. At the Odeon they will take pride of place above us in all their high definition glory.
People can expect to see Moongoose how it was always meant to be.
What sort of stuff will you be playing?
We will be playing most of the new album - Organic Technology: Reaction Music 2, as well as a selection of tracks from the previous EPs - Silhouettes & Shadows:Reaction Music 1 & The Footprints EP.
Is there anybody else on with you?
Yes, our very special guests for the evening are Dave Jackson & The Cathedral Mountaineers. Dave will be playing songs from his recent album Cathedral Mountain as well as a selection from his vast repertoire with The Room, Benny Profane, Dead Cowboys and Dust.
Can our readers have an example of your music please?
Yes. Click on the link below.
Oh yes, the moody and magnificent single And From My Window I Look Down On Skyscrapers. Doesn't it feature the legendary Andy Diagram – he of Spaceheads, Two Pale Boys, James, The Pale Fountains and the Diagram Brothers - on trumpet?
That's the one.