The Bent Moustache – Pastures New, Seasons Turn

The Bent Moustache is without doubt a “Trickster” band but like all Tricksters, full of cunning wit and charm. Better that you’re on their side, we say.

 

 

Wormer Bros Records

 

A really great record is this: sprawling, cocky, ambitious and boasting no little nous. And surprising: I know and appreciate Ajay’s love of the Fall, it has always informed the Bent Moustache gigs I’ve seen, so I was expecting a bit of the determined gritty plod and barbed asides  (and yes we do get it now and again here) but I wasn’t prepared for such a grandiose record, if I’m honest. More fool me.

The opener Skip A Breath is a dashing essay in sound, awash with guitars strings. Mid to high register white noise predominates and there are measured nods to the odd 80’s act (the string plucks are very ‘83 Bunnymen), but what the hell, it’s great. Following that, the title track is sleek and shiny in a metallic way, luxuriating in nuances of tone and texture. It’s diffident, and slightly aesthetic in its outlook; it has a feel of the stuff that Colin Newman’s late era Wire, (or Newman’s other project, Githead), knock out. The refrain is gloriously rich and supple and has that monastic, pure feel Ride could summon up back when they were good. Sod that, THIS is good…

I mentioned the Fall earlier, and Hey Mate (I’ve Got Plenty to Spare) is superficially like the Fall, (you could name the odd track such as for immediate reference, and it also boasts that glorious druggy feel that This Nations Saving Grace has, say), but the listener is more engrossed in the sardonic issue of Ajay’s waking dream. It’s like The Family of God’s epic rant Babble with a Hanley bass line. Heavy Jam could be off a very stoned 90’s Ochre Records release - or ADF gone hippy - a trippy maze of sticky guitars and Harpy-like kids voices leading the listener ever further into this riddle of a track…

Suddenly it’s time to focus again. Loose Thinking Now is a nervous and spiky Postcard blitz, playing Josef K at their own game. Following that sonic cold shower, we get back to slacker ways. Azad Hind grooves around oblivious to all in the basement, stoned off its tits and deciding to lecture us all in German: (this is a real stoner record, make no mistake): Ceramic Hobs, anyone or a groovy version of Twist/ Run/Repulsion? You decide. All In Our Hands is a straight down the line scuzz-rocker, (1991 vintage)… all thumping bass and slightly abstract guitar shapes whereas Sound of Sirens is a menacing electronic soliloquy, as black as pitch. Oh, remember that point I made earlier in this review about the Fall, well finally I can make it, sort of... Seine Meie Geheime Code is as close as the band gets to the Fall in tone but it’s a very funny in an el- el-ay-ay kinda way, and in some ways the Fall-isms are fitting when you consider the song’s subject matter; (having a pop at the flashier side of Manchestah).

And finally as if nothing that went before actually mattered, Outro is a refreshingly light sazz solo.

What a head trip.

The Bent Moustache is without doubt a “Trickster” band but like all Tricksters, full of cunning wit and charm. Better that you’re on their side, we say.