“Wait For Me” – ‘Moby’ [Joint Review]
I’m back, and I’m bad.
Did you miss me!
Yes, it’s been a delightful few days, I’ve managed to get my head around some things, sit back, take it all in. Over the past week, I’ve drifted away from the music scene, and I’ve left my reviews in the dark, albeit burdening a little too much on my counterpart.
… Now, hmm…
I know I said I’d be gone for a little while, and I’ve probably skipped a review or two that you guys would have probably disregarded, given the music scene’s a little slow-at-the-mo. Although it’s yet to be displayed, some “bad-press” has recently crept onto the Highly Evolved blog. It’s inevitable, but still disheartening nonetheless. Although it awaits my partner’s approval [seeing as it was his review, it's only fair], it still remains in limbo. But I’d just like to say - even though no obscene words were used – we are fully capable and appropriately armed with any and all vocabulary-missiles, which can and will be launched when necessary.
… But enough said, cheers to those people with decent things to say.
“Brian” – I am watching you… [The Enantiomorphic God does the "Meet The Parents" gesture]
It’s gotten to an extreme point where I’ve realised that I tend to ‘jabber’ a little too much in my reviews, and on the odd occasion, lapse into melodrama. For a while I’ve probably overstated the obvious: yes I’m overworked, yes I’m underpaid, no I’m not middle-aged, yes I whine like a elderly-chap reminiscing about “the-good-old-days”. Melodrama is what makes the world go round, and it’s a ‘ploy’ Hollywood and the likes utilise to compensate for the lack of idea-flow.
‘Moby’ has had me follow it on a short leash for about three years now. It’s not easy music to get into, it’s got an acquired taste that takes time to develop and fully appreciate. It’s fleeting genre-placement can sometimes be surprisingly frustrating, or delightfully quaint. Perhaps I’m not the right person to be writing this review, but what’s the point of writing any of them, or doing anything, for that matter; is it all just for a challenge?
“Wait For Me” is just another example of the flourishing bedroom-studio albums that this decade now bears witness to. With the record-companies and their bean-counters continuing to hamper artists [like 'The Dandy Warhols'], bands are looking elsewhere to record their talents. With money as scarce as it is, and with bands as numerous as they are, it looks as though if you’ve got a soundproof room, a few pick-ups, a guitar, some vocals, a heck-of-a-lot-of synth, some recording equiptment and a laptop full of loops, you’ve just about got the makings for a home-made album. Potential-wise, I can’t say – some have got it, some don’t. If you’re dedicated enough to do anything, just because a studio won’t record you doesn’t mean you can’t get out there, as we’ve seen…
“Wait For Me” is a fine example of this same dedication: if you bloody-well want to record a song, by all means, give it all you’ve got. It has a mix of synth, acoustic beats/rhythms/instruments, and although a handful of songs are purely instrumental, others have vocals and lyrics that are to die for. Friends of ‘Moby’ himself were utilised for these vocal-roles and give this album an edge where there otherwise wouldn’t be any. “Study War” implements a strong usage of a pre-recorded speech [which I have yet to determine] as it’s main vocal/lyrical medium, partnered with a strong female voice.
Genre-wise, I don’t think ‘Moby’s’ breaking any new ground. Personally, I’ve seen countless albums, songs, and the likes, that have used just the same method to make the music. But the style that ‘Moby’ has just gives it a strong sense of something else. He’s been at it for years, and it really shows; newcomers to the bedroom-album will find that the average band will limit it’s vocals if it can: it’s music is just a sum of basic loops and beats, and repeats over and over again for a length of some minutes. The more adept-bedroom-album will implement pre-recorded speech, but masters – like ‘Moby’ – will actually have live-vocals and original lyrics. Just because “Wait For Me” is using synth doesn’t make this album something for trance-lovers, or techno-freaks, the album floats between alternative, electronica, and ambience. But it has no fixed position in either, as stated previous, and this might be detrimental to new-listeners.
Still, at a solid 50-minutes, which might sound short, ‘Moby’s’ songs are full of body, and are deceptively long. Don’t expect a song to last anywhere beyond five-minutes, which is a good, average length for something of this fleeting-genre album. There’s a general mix of length, with some songs only lasting a minute or so, perhaps as intermediaries. I’m not going to stand on a firm answer there; some might find it unnecessary, but the synth ambience here is refreshing after a five-minute track.
Other than that, it’s down to the music itself: “Division” sees “Wait For Me” off as it’s opener, and it’s a fantastic ambient-beginning, well-placed, well-titled. It’s slow violin draws you in, and divides you from reality. As you immerse yourself in the world of ‘Moby’s’ “Wait For Me”, you slowly close your eyes and await the arrival of the next track. It’s enough to keep you guessing, it’s enough to keep you just on edge; you’ll be relaxed, you’ll be mellow.
A sudden stop at 1:57 and we’re off to “Pale Horses”. The feminine-vocals here have such a sudden impact; as the synth dies down from “Division”, it’s just enough to set you in the ‘Moby’ rut. The synthetic violin is obvious here, and as the whine of a woman creeps in slowly, the lyrics “put me on the train, send me back my home, couldn’t leave without you…” echo hauntingly. It’s not one of my particular favourites, and it doesn’t stand as an figurehead for the rest of the album. My partner’s favourite, “Shot In The Back Of The Head” utilises some interesting, backwards loops, that are fantastic. It’s really a song that should be played from the end to the beginning, although I’ve yet to try it. The off-tune music here is wonderfully composed, and the layers do make it one of the best instrumental tracks on the album.
Probably my favourite for the entire piece is “Study War”. The pre-recorded speech has a strong message to convey. The words “… and study war, no more…” have been etched into my brain; it’s hard to find politically-active music these days, Dylan did it, but it’s a dieing art-form that will be sorely missed. It’s probably going to be one of those quiet tracks that gets overlooked, but these are the kinds of songs that I hunt for, and if an artists just has one of them, I’m ecstatic.
About halfway through the album, we get another great track called “Mistake”. ‘Moby’s’ use of a male voice is fantastic, and the violin is very reminiscent of “Division”. The electric guitar is the icing on the cake, from my perspective. Another shady track, it’s all good.
When it comes to the bottom-half of the album, I get a little lost. After “Mistake”, things start to get a bit blurry. At a whopping 16-tracks, it’s hard to stay enthused. It’s one of those albums that has an awesome beginning, and a half-rate end. “Isolate” finishes “Wait For Me”, and it’s another instrumental with about half the potency of “Division”. It’s not a good eye-opener for the musically-comatose.
So, overall, if you’re fine with all of that, then “Wait For Me” is a quiet, well-strung album that should have you off with the fairies in no-time. If you’re finding it hard to sleep at night, those pesky dreams of yours will turn to butter at the first sight of “Wait For Me”, and you’ll be whisked into a cloud of wonder. [See! I'm stuck for ideas, so out comes the melodrama] When it comes to a rating, it’s hard to give the album four-stars at a maximum, and two at a minimum. Because it jumps so much, I find myself torn between two worlds: 3/5 sounds reasonable, but slightly unfair. I did enjoy listening to the album, but it just wasn’t legend-making-material for me.
The Enantiomorphic God