Camouflaging Genius and Other Misconceptions

By Andy Bradshaw
Impact Magazine
The Water Rats, London UK

A more disparate and odd assortment of human being you would be hard pushed to find. Yet this is Moist. They shamble onto the stage in a collection of clothes which -to be polite- are at best 'lived in'. The Water Rats is a pub a stone's throw away from King's Cross Station. It's one of the many drinking houses in the capitol with a theatre (well, stage anyway) tagged on the back. There should be more people here really, considering they played a blinder at the Camden Underworld a couple of weeks ago. Bad publicity for the show is mentioned by several pundits as the cause. Moist don't care, however. For the first ten minutes, the music critic is shoved rudely to one side as the anthropologist takes over. Just who are these guys? Lead singer David Usher is a man possessed of the most amazing eyebrows in Christendom. They have a life of their own, particularily when married to his emotionally volatile delivery, which in the space of an eye-blink goes from a frontal lobotomy-induced grin to spasms of rage. Then there's guitarist Mark Makowy -for who the word sane would be like a Christmas present to a Bedlam inmate. He clearly bought his facial expressions in a garage sale. Bassist Jeff Pearce, whilst an extremely talented musician, looks so frighteningly normal he lends the proceedings a totally surreal edge. Keysman Kevin Young is Ralph, the piano player from the Muppet Show, and Paul Wilcox on drums is so welded into his bandanna and an air of permanent bemusement at the implausibility of it all that reality falls like a dead weight on the psyche.

I have to say, though, that this is clearly a band who has not yet reached their zenith. The set is at times captivating, and at others less so. 'This Shrieking Love' is absolutely riveting; to such an extent, it makes 'Push' look very ordinary indeed -to the point where you wonder why it was ever highlighted by the band to be made into a video. 'Kill For You' is another highlight, with Usher whipping himself into a frenzy similar to a dog that has finally caught its tail and can't stop spinning. 'Machine Punch Through' is enchanting too, but the rest? Well, it would be fair to say that there are many other bands who've tapped into their vein of music to similar effect. They do, however, have enough songwriting talent and live prowress to give them the edge; the kind of edge which will make the difference. I can see why they were passed over by most A&R guys, because their genius is so well camouflaged. But I can also see why they were signed. Moist should stop pandering to the zeitgeist, and develop that which is all their own; unique, and potentially devastating. Their next two albums are eagerly awaited.

On the night though, they aquitted themselves well and left the venue considerably warmer than it was before they came on. Impressive.