search for something...

search for something you might like...

Bestie's 2018: Momus, Pantaloon Momus helps you think about saving the world...

Bestie's 2018: Momus, Pantaloon

Momus helps you think about saving the world...

by Jay Lewis, Reviews Editor
first published: January, 2019
...It contains several gloriously amusing lines, of which the opener, ‘My brother is a brat, a wank stain in a hat’, made me spit out my breakfast when I heard it

years end

4. Momus - Pantaloon (Darla)

The clock is ticking.

Back in 1947, a group of eminent scientists introduced the concept of 'The Doomsday Clock',  it symbolised how close the world was to a man made catastrophe, the idea was that when the clock struck midnight, it would be curtains for all of us.  In 1947 the clock indicated that the end of the world as we know it was seven minutes away.  Since then the minute hand has wavered to and fro, but now, with the damages of global warming, over population, scarce resources,  war and, as Noam Chomsky recently observed, a US Republican government that is 'the most dangerous organization in human history', it is now closer to midnight (a mere two minutes), than it ever has been before.  

Last summer, as I wandered along some faraway beach and grimaced at the amount of single use plastic that washed upon the shore, I listened to the songs that Momus was teasing out for his forthcoming album, of which 'Good Time Coming'  a theatrical march, is one of the highlights. In the song Momus knows where we are and where we are heading, it's a manifesto and not a moan, offering solutions for all our ills, but ending each stanza with a note of scepticism, such as:

'If we can act collectively instead of for ourselves,
I really see no limit to the fun,
If not, on the other hand, we're done.'

It's here where the song really hurts, without explicitly saying so (this isn't the didactic world of Morrissey, the writer has the skill to imply and suggest),  he knows that humans won't actually '... pull (their) finger out and get (their) ass in gear', in enough time to avoid the impending apocalypse.  If Coward's 'There are Bad Times Just Around The Corner' was a reflection on post-war anxiety, then this should be regarded as it's early 21st century equivalent. 

There's a hazey psychedelic feel to the sardonic 'Little Paper Humans' (multi tracked vocals, a keyboard that sounds like a snake charmer's Pungi).  It's sounds like a long lost hippy protest song ('kind is what you need to be but you don't show it...') , like so much on this album, even the song's title hints at how fragile we are. 

But that's not to say that 'Pantaloon' is a despondent record, the gentle jazz of  'Brexochasm' may be a love song, but it reflects on the awfulness of Brexit and a world where we now 'have to live without Bowie'. 

It's in this song that the Shakespearean notion of a 'pantaloon' (the penultimate stage in the seven ages of man, from 'As You Like It' is most evident  Momus may have not reached this stage of life yet ('...with spectacles on nose and pouch on side'), but there is a suggestion that his time is running out:

'And you're everything I ever dreamed of
But I may be running out of time
At least the world and I have that in common
We are partners in crime.'

There is also surreal comedy here. 'The Beckmans' takes the decadent lifestyles of characters in the Weimar Republic, as painted by Max Beckman, and juxtaposes it with the theme tune of 'Steptoe and Son'. It contains several gloriously amusing lines, of which the opener ('My brother is a brat, a wank stain in a hat'), made me spit out what I was eating when I first heard it. 

This being a Momus album, there are far more cultural and literary influences and references than more celebrated songwriters achieve in a decade (and yes, I'm referring to Morrissey here). I really have only scratched the surface on the myriad of ideas that flow through this album. 'Pantaloon' is an album that will reward you whenever you return to it.

Enjoy it whilst we still have time. 

Previous: Nils Frahm ||| Next: Julia Holter

Jay Lewis
Reviews Editor

Jason Lewis is a Birmingham based music, movie and arts obsessive. Jason's encyclopedic knowledge of 80s/90s Arts films is a debt to his embedded status in the Triangle Arts Centre trenches back then.


about Jay Lewis »»

...It contains several gloriously amusing lines, of which the opener, ‘My brother is a brat, a wank stain in a hat’, made me spit out my breakfast when I heard it

OUTSIDELEFT Week in Music

view on youtube

RECENT STORIES

RANDOM READS

All About and Contributors

HELP OUTSIDELEFT

Outsideleft exists on a precarious no budget budget. We are interested in hearing from deep and deeper pocket types willing to underwrite our cultural vulture activity. We're not so interested in plastering your product all over our stories, but something more subtle and dignified for all parties concerned. Contact us and let's talk. [HELP OUTSIDELEFT]

WRITE FOR OUTSIDELEFT

If Outsideleft had arms they would always be wide open and welcoming to new writers and new ideas. If you've got something to say, something a small dank corner of the world needs to know about, a poem to publish, a book review, a short story, if you love music or the arts or anything else, write something about it and send it along. Of course we don't have anything as conformist as a budget here. But we'd love to see what you can do. Write for Outsideleft, do. [SUBMISSIONS FORM HERE]

outsideleft content is not for everyone