Label: Ed Banger Records
Reviewed by: Joe Mossman
With a name like Mickey Moonlight you might be tempted to picture an over-the-hill Vegas lounge singer in a bad suit and pencil moustache butchering old pop songs.
That’s the image I conjured up, anyway, so I was relieved when I found out Moonlight is actually a DJ out of the UK. His debut album is a sixteen-track collection of what he describes as “Science Fiction Exotica,” electronica composed with home listening in mind as opposed to the club. I usually take that as a good sign. Hopefully it means songs with a more traditional musical structure, a focus on melody and variation, and less on the repetitive beats that keep people dancing in the club, but can bore you to tears at your desk.
Moonlight delivers...mostly. The science fiction influences are obvious, not just in the lyrics but in the fabric of some of the music itself. Tracks like Changalaxy and the Welcome Aboard intro evoke memories of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Red Dwarf even though there’s no real musical correlation (it’s just the sort of impression their retro-flavored beats make). Big Ship Passing is slow, dark ambient track, almost more sound effect than song. And Buckaroo Banzai is...Buckaroo Banzai. It’s Moonlight’s competent (but not particularly interesting) cover of the theme from the 1984 Peter Weller sci-fi spoof. And Interplanetary Music is...well, I’m sorry, but it’s just annoying.
The album’s strongest track is undoubtedly Close to Everything, a smooth, smoky-sounding, medium-tempo beat-driven song that feels like the small hours of a party, when everything’s winding down and there’s a mellow, satisfied kind of exhaustion in the air. It bears little resemblance to the more SF-leaning songs, however, and it’s not alone. This Son Is Coming Up and Pelu Tolo have a distinct tropical flavor, which doesn’t do much to create a sense of coherence across the album.
In the end Moonlight’s debut is good but due to a few tedious, unsalvageable tracks (the aforementioned Interplanetary Music and the album’s finale, Come On Humans) just misses the mark of being great.