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  Take It To The Spotlight  
  The Marc Moreland Mess  
  Kitchen Whore  
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It came as somewhat of a shock to PostLibyan that Mr. Marc Moreland was dead. In fact, Moreland passed away in March 2002 in France due to complications of a liver transplant. "How old is this promo?" I ask myself. "Is this some sort of test? Do you do this to all the new reviewers? Is this some sort of joke?" Moreland was part of Wall of Voodoo in the 80s and was famous for the hit Mexican Radio. Listening to this, I want to drink up. And perhaps so did Mr. Moreland.

What I do care about is the fact that this guy was stuck in a rut when he died. For the most part, the recording sounds like a demo, with an overwhelmingly crummy sound. The songs are fairly well formed, and have much potential. I understand this was his last recording, but a question pervades throughout the entire recording: Why?

I think this album serves a couple of purposes. First, this is an effort from the friends and family of Mr. Moreland to hear his last thoughts in words and music. It's also a release from Kitchen Whore Records, who are also handling Wall of Voodoo's recordings. I checked out the Wall of Voodoo website , and there are a legion of bad web designing WoV fans who are clamoring for the material.

The first track, Hey Lady, is misleading. It starts out on a slightly country twangin' guitar lick, then a cowbell is heard, and then a scary keyboard. Then Mr. Moreland's signature voice comes in. And, if you remember Mexican Radio, then you remember his voice. (Brendan's Note: The vocal similarity is uncanny, since Stan Ridgeway, not Mr. Moreland, was the vocalist for Wall of Voodoo.) Shaky Johnny Cash, at best, with a little less volume and a little more notation. The song dwells for a while in the dusty streets of an abandoned wild, wild west street. Then, the song picks up. There are some really neat transitions and the song almost double times the rhythm section.

Then, Commotion is a signature sound for the record. Imagine a very reverb laden, poppy guitar song with a standard drumbeat. There's nothing too glamorous here. In fact, one might wonder what it's doing on this record. This one's for the fans. So, honestly, the album is hit or miss. There are some really good songs though. My favorite is Bring Me Back Home. Here's a track that almost wakes up the album. It's a pulsating, synth laden, and desperate sounding song, where the combination of production and sound make it work so well as a song.

Also of note is the cover of Betty Davis Eyes, mostly remembered as performed by Kim Carnes. This is a very spooky version of the song. I am pretty sure the lyrics have been changed a little, but I honestly don't recall paying much attention to the original version. There are some oddly placed synthesizer sound effects that seem very inappropriate. But as I'm all about being inappropriate, how can I not like this? I guess, it's because it doesn't make much sense nor does it sound too good.

I would also like to point out that I formed the Johnny Cash reference before I realized there was a cover of I Walk the Line on here as well. Again, the same old creepy synth and reverb guitar treatment, accented by a slightly lazy guitar solo. But, the last song, I Saw the Light, is actually pretty good. It's an upbeat, quaint pop song. It sounds so bright compared to the rest of the album. In fact, it actually sounds like REM's Shiny Happy People, but we won't have to listen to that shit 5000 times a day.

And my problem with the songs I don't like? They just aren't much to enjoy. Bad sound, bad subject matter, and intolerable vocals. It's like eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Every now and then you might get a bite of a peanut, that is if you did, in fact, get crunchy peanut butter.

To sum up, the record is ok. I liked half of it. If you like to listen to anything lo-fi, you'd probably like this (I know you people out there exist.) So, enjoy Mess mongers! This one is for the fans!

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