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Alistair Moock | Bad Moock Rising
You want to forget the awful pun in the title, see it as a fleeting aberration, and for the first two tracks you're almost allowed to. Then comes Moock's crowd-pleaser, the asinine Here's a Latte and My Middle Finger - a piss poor 'protest' song about corporate coffee drinkers with a chorus of "Over-educated mutherfucker / You're an under-thinking pasta sucker." Combining the naffness of Chumbawamba's lyrics with a hackneyed folk figure, Moock comes off as bitter rather than funny, especially as coffee-drinking, middle class intellectuals are the only people on earth who still listen to such dilettantish, archival renderings of folk music. What other goodies are there in store? Well, there's a cover of Dylan's Let Me Die in My Footsteps which is so redundant and backwards looking that I had to double check the release date on the album sleeve. Then there's Economist John, which drags a tired and ungainly metaphor through three minutes to the utter predictability of its conclusion, a bunch of staggeringly dull love songs where cliches cling like burrs to the strummed melodies and, worst of all, a nine minute live run-through of Woody Guthrie's Pretty Boy Floyd, in which Moock continually stops the song to explain to his audience what it's about - a grave error, explaining a song which is so brilliantly written that, sixty years on, it needs no explaining. Despite all this, there's some nice playing on the album, mandolin and dobro solos that deserve a better platform than the songs on offer here and Moock has a pleasant, gruff voice, but really, there's no excuse for this kind of entrenchment, not when there's so much good and original music out there.

Stav Sherez
June-July 2001

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