It was mostly out of a sense of loyalty and nostalgia that I bought Statues. I'd felt Moloko's third album release, Things To Make And Do, was a shambolic introduction to the band, for new listeners lured by dancefloor smashes Sing It Back and The Time Is Now.
Well, what a pleasant surprise, because the duo haven't just retread the past glories off kook classics Do You Like My Tight Sweater? and I Am Not A Doctor, but overshot them with a maturity which only bolsters their insight to date.
Roisin Murphy's voice is better than ever. A friend of mine who dropped by when I was playing it said, "Alanis Morissette on weed", and while you can see what he means, the lyrical approach, while no less intelligent, has a charming idiosyncracy that's so far from the North American sensibility as to make comparisons pretty unhelpful.
And Mark Brydon's always inventive arrangements benefit now from a more orchestral sweep than previously . When this is fused with electronica , as in the opener, Familiar Feeling (the version here having a two-minute, staccato intro that's pure anxiety) and I Want You, the effect is pure synesthesia. Mind you, the strings on this album would make it worth a punt on their own.
Bouncy slices of dance-pop like 100% and Cannot Contain This could easily reiterate Moloko’s undoubted club appeal, but it’s the lyrics that’ll have you poring over the insert. They’ve always been leftfield, to say the least, but they can take on subjects such as obsession, lost love and disappointment as well as any torch balladeer.
It's one of those rare albums where you have a new favourite track every day.
Even the melodrama of the final track, Over And Over, at nigh-on ten minutes, manages to feel self-indulgent for the listener, rather than the musicians. Indulge yourself – you might not get as much wear out of a CD for quite a while.