Things to Make and Do, by Moloko
Suggested by Sara-Jane Davies
I remember hearing Smells Like Teen Spirit for the first time. It blew me away.
“Wow,” I thought, “this is a unique and interesting sound. These Nirvana chaps are really going places!”
I obtained a copy of Nevermind not long after. I listened to it, gave a massive shrug, and metaphoprically yeeted my copy into the sea.
To me, Nirvana are the epitome of the phrase One And Done. I’d say One Hit Wonder, but technically they’ve had multiple hits. I know I’m in the minority, that Nirvana were mould-breaking and iconic and inspirational and all that bobbins, but to me, they had one good song and a sackful of bollocks.
Other bands in this envelope include Nickelback, Rick Astley, the Proclaimers, A-ha… and Moloko.
Moloko are a Sheffield two-piece Pop-Dance outfit, with two hits of note. The first is my personal choice for best track, The Time Is Now. It’s a decent dance song, with an acoustic base and flamenco influences, but even this is simply “nice.” It’s quite an empty sound, with medium energy and drive. It made number two in the UK charts, and I’ve no problem believing there was a better song than it for those particular weeks. The band’s other hit is a Boris Musical remix of their song Sing It Back. Just as it took Norman Cook to elevate Cornershop’s Brimful of Asha to musical sainthood, it took an external influence to make this bird fly too.
The rest of the songs on Things to Make and Do are rather forgettable affairs, also in the pop dance mould but without a decent hook to keep their heads above the waterline. The songs seem rather one dimensional, as if they’re borne of a single idea and left undeveloped in their creative arc. There’s no guile or layered craftsmanship; it’s all rather pedestrian and plodding. Once a track starts, you know what it’s going to be until the bitter end. At times, this under-developed feel is displayed in a stark relief, as tracks such as You and Me Dancing or If You Have a Cross to Bear You May a Well Use It as Crutch aren’t so much undeveloped as unfinished. They feel phoned in, as if they band are hung over but forced to put in an eight-hour shift.
I’d originally planned on rating this as a 5/10, the score that encapsulates an indifferent shrug, but I became more irritated with it as I wrote my review. Things to Make and Do gets 4/10. Moloko’s time is not now, and I won’t be singing it back.