I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but it’s difficult when often somethings are often sold on the artwork that accompanies a book, a film or, in this case, an album.
To say the album cover to Ernest Moon’s ‘Skipping to Maloo’ caught my eye would be an understatement. The 1980s image of two women seductively posed on a car bonnet suddenly returned me to my childhood when these fashions and expressions were everywhere. In fact, I wondered if the Human League had suddenly released a new album, or if the women featured were Ernest Moon!
So, artwork aside, who is Ernest Moon and what is the music all about?
The band is made up of Ste Doran and Bri Murphy and the music is working-class pavement pop (hey, have I just invented a new genre?). By this I mean it’s pop but with lyrics and stories set in the every day, think Pulp’s ‘Common People’ or the back catalogue of Squeeze and the Beautiful South. It’s all very British, very cute and assured.
If I’m honest, I would have liked a bit of oomph in the production, a little more bass and a bit more drive, but maybe this is the point, pop music is best when it’s relaxed, natural and without someone shouting; “write the same again!”, this is as far from the dark days of Stock, Aitken and Waterman as you can get when the production was slick but samey, catchy but repeated.
There is a nod to folk music in the well-written lyrics and the reference to the Cotswolds fits in nicely all in all there are some tasty tracks here, ‘Big Wow’ will get the radio play, but ‘Taloola Ray’ sleazes along nicely, as does the aforementioned ‘The Cotswolds’ and ‘She Forgot Her Kiss Goodbye’. My big nark with the whole thing is the vocal delivery, (think Steve Harley and the Cockney Rebel crossed with Bryan Ferry) but strangely what started out as annoying quickly became well suited after a few listens because it all fits together well.
If you like your pop with added zip and you want something a little more intelligent than the majority of what the commercial radio channels are playing check these fellas out.