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April 27th, 2005 Casey Jarman, Corban Lester | Album Reviews
 

Moby / Fischerspooner

     
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Moby "Hotel"

Moby

Hotel (V2)

MOBY'S HOTEL HASN'T BEEN RENOVATED SINCE 1995, AND THOSE STAINS ON THE SHEETS JUST AREN'T THAT APPEALING.

Moby's 1995 album, Everything Is Wrong, proved that electronic music could be heartfelt, epic, and most of all, human. At the time, there was nothing else quite like it. Ten years and a duet with Gwen Stefani later, Hotel finds Moby sounding once again like Moby. His signature orchestral-synth-and-piano sound is all over the album, as are his comfortingly tone-deaf vocals. All the things his faithful loved him for back in 1995 are here, but this effort seems strangely hollow and, in 2005, completely irrelevant.

The album starts off promisingly enough. "Hotel Intro" clicks and whirs busily before those trademark synths come in big, sweeping left to right and back again. But the song ends abruptly, giving way to an album of uninspired pop that Moby's production is too dated and familiar to save. The real ugliness begins with "Beautiful," the album's first single, which wastes no time jumping into the way too radio-friendly chorus: "Look at us, we are beautiful/ all the people push and pull/ but let's just go out and ride." From there on out, Hotel is a minefield. Those willing to brave the danger will find a disappointing cover of New Order's "Temptation," the dorky, Bowie-inspired "Spiders," and the album's undisputed low point, "I Like It," a beat-heavy trip-hop number in which Moby breathes heavily into the mic and says, "I liked it a lot." Yuck.

Songs like "Slipping Away" and "Forever" find Moby at his best, avoiding some of the more overt clichés of the album, but they aren't enough to keep this Hotel from feeling strictly two-star. (Casey Jarman)

Fischerspooner

Odyssey (Capitol)

WHO IS FISCHERSPOONER DOING THIS TIME-ANDY KAUFMAN, LIAM GALLAGHER OR ELTON JOHN?

The old music-biz adage "exposure is good, but people die from exposure" isn't lost on Warren Fischer and Casey Spooner. Between 2000 and 2003, the whole world was supposedly infatuated with their breakthrough electro single, "Emerge." On the strength of that song-and their recklessly decadent stage show-their band, Fischerspooner, ascended to superstardom amid the then-blossoming electroclash™ movement, only to find themselves in the "where are they now?" file once that ruthlessly overmarketed genre lost its legs. Though many expected Fischerspooner to survive the electroclash™ crash, its debut LP, #1, disappointed at the register, and it suddenly had no record label through which to release a follow-up.

Two years on, Fischerspooner's second album, Odyssey, hits the shelves-with attitude. Song after song, frontman Spooner articulates the uniquely hopeless outlook belonging to a one-hit wonder on the comeback trail. He sounds dejected and bitter throughout, as though he's crafted a tyrant's suicide note. But Fischerspooner deserves no grief after Odyssey. Instead of the same old shtick, their sophomore effort is ambitious and futuristic, laden with sophisticated vocal arrangements spread thick over gloomy post-New Wave and icy electro-disco compositions. They wanted their second offering to be substantial, and it is-complete with aural motifs that give the album an epic "concept" energy. Unfortunately, the anti-electroclash™ media-bullhorn deafened enough people to Fischerspooner's style that most won't discover this brilliant album until it's too late to do any good. The Fischerspooner boys deserve props for showing their faces again, regardless. (Corban Lester)


Moby plays with Buck 65 Sunday, May 1, at Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th Ave., 224-2038. 8 pm. $26.50-$40 advance. All ages.
 
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