Monday, 12 September 2011

Man... or Astro-Man? – Your Weight On The Moon

An astronautic Dick Dale rides the white-heat of Fireball XL5 while a 1950s TV announcer intones, with great seriousness and a solemn gravity not to be found in the title of this record, "MAN... OR ASTRO-MAN..." and the monochrome flickers of 405 line launches into another exciting episode of our favourite... Well, okay, it's not really that, of course, but Your Weight On The Moon has something of that ethereal atmosphere, completely lo-fi, unashamedly B-movie and futuristically retro chrome. Surf guitar plays space rock – it ought to come with a free jetpack for every space cadet.

On the other hand, and down to Earth, Man... or Astro-Man were a surf-punk Alabama band from the 90s, playing almost manically cartoon instrumentals with Dick Dale-style guitars and science fiction overtones and, now I come to look them up, seem like they were pretty prolific over much of that decade. What we have here, on Overground Records, is a gathering up of three separate releases previously on Newcastle-based One Louder Records: A 10" vinyl of the same name, and a couple of EPs (Mission Into Chaos and Return To Chaos). In one way this is just up my street to be honest: fast and furious and totally devoid of reverence; tongue seemingly firmly in cheek but at the same time taking a really infectious joy in the themes and influences, so that it is that sci-fi B-movie or black and white television show, torn and creased copies of Galaxy or Worlds Of If pulp magazine or Gold Key comic book representation of SF: interstellar travel and bug-eyed monsters all delivered with that thrilling surf twang. Or, put another way, it's a Quentin Tarantino remake of Forbidden Planet. Maybe not as classic as Forbidden Planet, may be more The Time Travellers.

It's relentless, though. As a compilation of three separate releases these tracks almost certainly work better as, well, three separate releases. By the time we've got to nearly the end of the original 10" and hit their rock-solid rendition of The Rezillos's 'Destination Venus' just the fact they've got someone belting out lyrics is a welcome relief to the relentlessly lo-fi, relentlessly driving, relentlessly madcap instrumentals that have come before. And when we've surfed on through to their cover of 'Goldfinger' (an even more irreverent version than Howard Devoto created with Magazine's take on that one – and that's saying something) we're left feeling that we've been pummelled by a combined force of Atlantic breakers and solar winds; irresistible in more ways than one.

1 comment:

Brandonio! said...

Great review.I can't to keep my copy.Sure I have everything MOAM? as ever released and this will be no exception.Yeah MOAM? are addicting like that!