Friday, 8 August 2008

The Moment

When I got into the whole Mod thing it had gone underground following it's fashion revival in the late 70s. There were still Mods around, but in London at least they were few and far between.

I first started dressing as a Mod around this time in 1983. I was quite loose about it at first, the odd Fred Perry, Harrington jacket. Then as I got a bit older I bought suits and things. I never owned a parka. I went to gigs. There were a few of us floating around who had the 'habit' so to speak and we would congregate. Eventually the others grew out of it, and finally so did I about 1986/87.

Mostly it was a way of expressing on the outside what I felt I was on the inside. And what I felt on the inside was the music. A whole great universe of music that was mine. That I was discovering for myself, not hearing about on the radio or in the music press or from older relatives. For a few years you had to dig to find this music. And dig I did.

Now I listen to some of that music and it's fun to hear, and the nostalgia levels are high. But some of it simply isn't as good as I thought it was. However, some things have become constants in my music collection and have never lost their favour with me.

The Moment were Adrian Holder (guitar/vocals), Rob Moore (bass/vocals),
and Anthony Lambdon (drums). For their first single In This Town Rob took lead vocals, but Adrian took over vocal duties fairly quickly. He was also the main songwriter. I first read an interview with them in a fanzine called Shadows And Reflections by Chris Hunt (who since became a very successful journalist and writer). The article described them as starting out as a sort of Mod Revival era type band like The Chords, only moving on from that and producing a very modern Mod sound. And that they did, probably because they took influence from music outside of the normally narrow Mod scene. I was intrigued and when their first single came out I searched it out.

I loved the a-side In This Town, which did sound very Chords/Jam. But better still was the Adrian Holder sung b-side Just Once which sounded like a thunder storm brewing. Then the second single One,Two, They Fly came out later that year and I fell in love. Big bright jagged guitars, brass and huge amounts of energy as Adrian and Rob duetted over beautifully melancholy chords.

And it sounded new. There were sixties and punk influences but they didn't control things. And then their only album came out The Work Gets Done. The Moment had developed. Guitars were bigger and more edgy (even Edge-y, in places the guitars verge on the stadium.), melodies were more powerful and even more melancholy. And Adrian's vocals were huge and powerful and emotive.

Added to this was the brass which appeared on several tracks. By this point The Moment were nearer to being a five piece as live they were regularly backed by a brass section (one of whom Steve Rinaldi has become a performer in his own right as Rinaldi Sings). And they were so powerful, strident and driving one minute, soft and tender the next. They sat next to my Jam and Dexys albums perfectly.

(They also provided a huge part of the soundtrack to events mentioned earlier this week in the Yeh-Yeh posting, which I bought on the same day as The Moment album....)

There is a compilation available if you search called Mod Gods that features everything they released, and if you like these tracks then there are others just as good on there.

Just Once

The b-side to The Moment's first single In This Town, Just Once reminds me of a thunder storm brewing, all tension that never quite resolves. It's all chop and staccato,

"What have I got to show that you were mine?"

One, Two They Fly

The second single with that great opening guitar riff, layered edgy Rickenbackers and acoustics, the melancholy brass, the stop start rhythms, and the joyful "whoo" before the jagged searing guitar solo. Then the stuttering vocal breakdown afterwards that recalls Daltrey's frustration on My Generation.

"I wait in the dark, to stay and wait for luck"

Flag To Fight Behind

This is almost post punk with it's throbbing bass and moody atmospherics. Again there's that sense of tension that almost never releases, and more of those stop start rhythms.

"The songs you sang for us, now nothing else can make us rush to change our ways"

The Tailor Made

This apparently started out life as a Small Faces influenced tune, but it's almost Goth Mod, verging on the psychedelic, (much like The Stone Roses who were apparently huge fans of The Moment, but more on that soon). I love the moody vocal and the almost ballad feel to this. The lyrics are very obscure but full of meaning and I still find the whole thing really inspiring. My favourite part is the very Dexys staccato breakdown after the middle section.

"And I was only running from you"

Sticks And Stones

This features a huge pulsing bass line and some great brass. And one of my favourite vocal exclamations ever in the 'Hah!' that follows the guitar breakdown.

"Five, Six, We're made of sticks to burn us down"

In Front Of Men

Like The Tailor Made this supposedly started off as a Small Faces influenced track and you can hear it in the arpeggios that open the track. But then it heads into that Goth-Mod style that I mentioned earlier. There's some very U2 style guitar chops and a breakdown that manages to remind me of Siouxsie & The Banshees for some reason.

"So she cries out loud once more, it's only hate that made us poor"

The Work Gets Done

A beautiful melody, small P political, heading into full on Redskins territory in the second verse. And then the trumpets that fly over the end of the track, such gorgeous gorgeous trumpets.

"We're never gonna cry these tears again"

Poor Mr Diamond

This was the b-side to their final single from 87-88. Remember mention of The Stone Roses earlier? The Roses started out as a Mod influenced band called The English Roses, went through a vaguely Gothic period, with bandannas and floaty shirts then became The Stone Roses that we all know. But listen to this track. Floaty psychedelic pop leading into a full on funk workout that goes on for about ten minutes. Sound like anything The Roses did a couple of years later? While it's nothing new - after all Hendrix was doing the same back in the 60s - it was enough for members of The Moment to comment on a few years later in the sleevenotes to Mod Gods.

"Poor Mister Diamond - Shine...."

If I had to give away my music there are some I would fight tooth and claw to keep. The Moment are one of the few.


Tall J said...

I know I'm going to be spending a lot more time at your blog over the next little bit!

Great stuff here. I was very interested to read about their influence on The Stone Roses.

adam said...

Outrageously good stuff - the writing, I haven't gone back to listen to the songs yet. Lovely.

Spring '84 I bought my parka, boating blazer, bowling shoes and ben sherman buttondown. I gave the parka away at the end of a stupidly drunken night out about ten years ago and I still pine for it. I think, in fact more than that, I plan, to buy another one. Soon.

dickvandyke said...

Top form Simon. Post of the week.

Thanks for the sterling introduction to a seemingly fine and underrated beat combo. Great sound. Touches of The Faith Bros too.

I too will listen .. and learn.

Cheers mate

whiteray said...

Nicely done! A nice intro to a group that never hit the Top 40 on my side of the pond. (And thanks for the link; I'll do the same!)

ally. said...

cor - i've got some catching up to do round here - never heard of them neither

Anonymous said...

just brilliant

Rob Moore said...

Hi Simon
This is the most inspiring written piece about us ever ! You understand where we were coming from. best wishes Rob Moore.

Simon said...

Whoah. Just looking back over my pieces and saw this response. Thanks for the kind words Rob. One of my favourite bands ever!!