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The Moore Brothers | Colossal Small (Multiball/Amazing Grease)
Appropriately enough The Moore Brothers' debut album includes a track called Bit By The Loon, which is as good an answer to the question 'What inspired this unique collection?' as any in trying to second guess the record collections that shaped these disarmingly charming songs. Had Elliott Smith devoured Pink Floyd albums with half the gusto of those by The Beatles he'd quite likely have come up with a song like Harry Lion, the sub-two minute introductory track. On the following Nicholas Pulse The Grifters take on Between The Buttons, the end result one of those rare Anglo-American cross-pollinations that works. The title track is a delicate, acoustic gem with just a hint of Grandaddy in its playful woodland imagery, while the sadistic message of Mole Slica is so at odds with the solo piano accompaniment and earnest delivery that you'd be wise to think twice before singing it in close proximity to, say, a maternity ward or a feminist book signing - it could happen. The Simon and Garfunkel vocal purity of Walking In floats over a most low-key electric guitar (amp buzz in full evidence), proof, if required, that it isn't necessary to layer string and horn arrangements over multi-tracked fourteen part harmonies to seduce a listener. No, Colossal Small is, as its title suggests, a record that eschews orchestral bombast in favour of simplicity, in turn leaving no doubt that this is a stellar set of hugely satisfying songs, small on fanfare. The single Humans Will Take Care is a Bowie-esque oddity, somewhere between the smooth white soul of Young Americans and Hunky Dory's oddball phrasing, with a Lennon-like middle eight to further deny such simple referencing. Again, as with much of the album, the seductive tones of the brothers on Bit By The Loon take precedence over any narrative 'sense' as, lemming-like, you follow their winding road...into the folky Ghost of San Rafael. At a little over thirty minutes, Colossal Small's failings, such that they are - the jarring 80s drum beat of Calligraphy Mouth, the underachieving Anababtist (there's a chorus there somewhere, they just can't reach it) - are merely diversions, the closing acoustic whimsy of We're 25 guaranteed to inspire that instant replay. Replay.

Matt Dornan
CWAS #7 - Spring 2001