The Moodswings came to my attention in 1992 when a friend brought their CD of MoodFood in to the University to play on the speakers/discman I used to habitually bring with me. At the time I was working on a fairly dry physics assignment and not really listening properly. But when I realised I was working to the rhythm of the album unconsciously and that somehow the assignment didn't seem that dull I just knew I had to get a copy of it for myself.
I wasn't disappointed. That album alone has become one of my most treasured ones and definitely one that is almost never far away from my CD player. The music itself is hard to pigeonhole ranging from purely instrumental and vocal pieces through to frantic synthesizer pieces with the key component being a strong sense of style and rhythm.
My biggest gripe with the group is that it has taken them about five years to release a second album. But if they can keep producing the quality of albums that they do, then this is not such a terrible hardship to bear.
Label: Water Music Records
Released some four years after their second album, Psychedelicatessen, this is a quieter less beat driven trip into sonic soundscapes. Using a Debussey's 'Clair De Lune' as the starting point these two albums meander gentle into a variety of down tempo moody scenes. Driven by steel pedal guitar the albums as a whole reek of American West - you almost expect a Texan drawl to greet you. This is a dreamy surreal West though, one that seques nicely from track to track giving you a listening experience that once you start is hard to stop and quite relaxing. It is a lovely piece of work that is very recognisably 'Moodswings' in sounds while also going in a new direction for them. I suspect long term fans of the group will simply love this album. I know I certainly did with some segments almost bringing me to tears the first time I heard them. It has been so long since I heard a release this good.
Live at Leeds
A recording from a live concert at Leeds this isn't really an album proper per se. But that said the mixes featured on the disc are quite different from the full album versions, generally more frantic and frenetic. Not worth seeking out unless, like me, you are something of a MoodSwings fan.
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The CD Booklet features a long flowing piece of artwork with the phrase 'Aural medication for tired minds' tucked away to the bottom right. They aren't kidding either, this CD is my pick for the best anti-depressant and general mood enhancer. Apart from one break between tracks three and four the whole 72 minutes flows seamlessly from track to track going from fairly lively synth/instrument mixes to delicate and quiet piano pieces. As it does so it evokes a relaxed dreamy mood that soothes, calms and gives cheer.
Absolutely wonderful stuff. This is their first, best album and really is simply audio perfection in my opinion. If you get the chance give it a listen and, unless your taste in music is fairly tightly locked into one particular style, I doubt you will be able to put it down again.
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Their second proper album this one suffers a little in that it has such a tough act to follow. MoodFood was so good that it created almost impossible expectations for the group. However even taking that into account it has to be said that this album simply isn't as good. The primary problem being the lack of clarity and distinctness in the sound. Instead of a crisp sound this album is muddled and a little overloaded in parts.
The best tracks are where things have slowed down again and less intermixed material is attempted. In particular Horrorzontal through to Hinkenlooper's Eclipse are particularly strong where the flow and clarity of sound work well. Other stand out tracks include Destruction & Destroy, Sugarush, The Great Sound of Letting Go and Dancing is Important. However even though the album isn't as good, it is still a very solid piece of work and worth a look at if you liked MoodFood.
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