Review: Jack Foley
VOODOO Child is, of course, the side project of Moby, although
it has been fairly quiet since the release of its eponymous first
single, in 1991, and the debut album, in 1996.
Now, however, it is responsible for Baby Monkey, an album
which was born out of an experience Moby enjoyed at an underground
party in Glasgow, in December 2002, while on the 18 tour.
The DJs were playing hard, sexy, straightforward dance
music and Moby thought it was perfect, so much
so that when he arrived home the following day, he resolved to
make an album which followed the same format.
In his own words, Baby Monkey is not an experimental
record, not an avant-garde record, but a straightforward, underground,
electronic dance record.
As such, it is very much an album for hardcore dance enthusiasts,
coming across as the type of record that you would expect to hear
coming out of one of the massive European clubs during the Summer
season, designed to bring a sweaty, occasionally chilled out,
conclusion to holidays filled with sun, sea and sex.
And therein lies its strength and its weakness. Im no fan
of club anthems, finding them dull, repetitive and frequently
lazy affairs, although, in chilled out mode, there is some satisfaction
to be found.
Hence, tracks which veer into more usual Moby territory fare
much better than those that are all about the pulsating beats
of the house, trance and techno crowds.
Synthesisers, for instance, bears all the hallmarks of
a souped up Moby, containing the trademark synths and laidback
grooves of the artist at his best. Likewise, the lengthy, but
occasionally hypnotic Strings, which arrives like a breath
of fresh air amid the bigger numbers.
Elsewhere, the deeply retro throwback of Light Is In Your
Eyes sounds like a guilty pleasure, evoking memories of some
of those appallingly catchy 80s chart anthems, usually put out
by the likes of the Pet Shop Boys or Erasure, with a little ambient
Moby thrown in for good measure.
Opening track, Gotta Be Loose in Your Mind, works well,
too, managing to crossover several dance genres, without alienating
the alternative crowd. It also evokes memories of Solomon Burke's
collaboration with Junkie
XL last year.
But for every high point, there is a low just waiting in the
wings, with the monotonous likes of Minors and Take
It Home threatening to undermine much of the good work, on
Baby Monkey is by no means a wasted exercise by Moby,
and is likely to appeal to the underground movement it is so obviously
in search of, but it is an acquired taste which looks destined
for cult appeal, rather than anything approaching the success
of his usual work.
1. Gotta Be Loose In Your Mind
3. Take It Home
4. Light Is In Your Eyes
8. Unh Yeah