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Otto Spooky

Otto Spooky
(American Patchwork)

Momus is the brainchild of one Scottish (but country-jumping) fellow named Nick Currie, and in case you haven't been following along, 'kitsch' might be the single-easiest word to apply to his musical world. This is an artist who, after all, released a 2CD album entitled Stars Forever in which he wrote songs about people who paid him one-thousand dollars each in order to get himself out of a sticky legal situation. Like many of his releases, that particular album had its definite highs and lows, and yet you have to give him serious props for being at the very least a savvy man with a plan.

Otto Spooky is the newest entry in his off-kilter view of the world and perhaps even more than some of his previous efforts both sounds and reads like some sort of headtrip into a bizarre Japanese video game in which song plots are chosen by a bouncing stuffed-animal rabbit with horns that is also radioactive and can breakdance. There's something about a kids show in a fascist republic, a song about an aging Robin Hood being defeated by a wiley left-field character that nobody has heard of, and even a computer-voice singing about sexual assualt.

As hinted at above, Currie has not only lived in Scotland, but has also called London, Tokyo, Paris, New York, and East Berlin his home. All the multiculturalism and different literature and music styles have obviously rubbed-off on his brain. As one can easily tell from reading his seemingly blog, though, his biggest influence may be the almost slapstick cultural grab bag of Japanese culture where appropriated phrases, music, and everything else all filter down through some sort of bizarre sieve into a technicolor melting pop accented with sexed-up stereotypes and hyperviolent movies.

Musically, Otto Spooky is what you might expect from Momus as synth-laden atmospheres mingle with electronic beats and the almost hilariously proper vocals of Curry himself ("Robin Hood" in particular sounds like he's reciting lines at a Renaissance Festival). As always, there are little periphery elements of electronic doodling, exotic instrumentation ("Lute Song"), and other oddities. Lyrically, Curry veers wildly, taking crude potshots in the pitch-bent "Your Fat Friend" while singing in French from the perspective of a cab driver on the Indian-inspired "Klaxon." Basically, it's par from the course if you've heard any of his previous work, and it's all gleefully subversive at times while being almost seriously artiste' in others. At 15 tracks and almost seventy minutes, it's kind of a whopper to digest all at once, but if you've heard Momus before and liked him, you're not going to go wrong here.

Rating: 6