Nick Currie aka Momus released six albums from 1987 to 1993 on the now defunct Creation Records. Since they are no longer in print and unlikely ever to be re-issued, the Scottish singer/songwriter made a momentous decision to release them himself as free and legal online albums.

Admittedly, this is the first time I’ve heard this rather unique artist. In a feeble attempt to classify his music, I would say he comes across as a mix of Nick Drake, Robyn Hitchcock, and Richard Thompson…with traces of techno, new wave, and disco thrown in just to keep you guessing. The folk rock elements are there but he isn’t happy with just reviving a sound. There’s a lot of variety and experimentation in these records yet it is a likable and personal sound.

The Poison Boyfriend (1987) is the most folk oriented with English and Scottish influences abounding. “Murderers, The Hope of Women” shows those influences but also his somber, cynical and somewhat cryptic style of songwriting is evident. The album is mostly acoustic and it is the reason that this is my favorite of the six. The acoustic style brings out his voice so much better.

Tender Pervert (1988) is an odd album with a gay theme. “The Angels are Voyeurs” has a light and likable melody that is offset by bizarre and risque lyrics. Some of the songs have a cabaret feel although my favorite, “In The Sanatorium” returns to a British folk environment.. The lyrics continue to be challenging and often brilliant. The artist’s liner notes repeatedly mentions Bertolt Brecht which gives you a big hint about the music.

Don’t Stop The Music (1989) is quite disco with heavy synthesizers and drum machine making it my least favorite of the six. The attempt to be “commercial” is fairly obvious. However it still has its unique moments. Check out the title track and “Lord of The Dance”. Momus’ lyrics remains interesting and controversial as would any album whose themes include incest and necrophilia.

Hippopotamomus (1991) continues with the techno beats and the folk influences are more in the background. Yet this is a pretty good album which seems to be more personal and..dare I say it?…artistic. Besides, how can you resist “A Dull Documentary”, a conceptual delight that is constructed on “Chopsticks”?

Voyager (1992) is inspired by the Japanese writer Yukio Mishima. There’s certainly is some Japanese influences here but the switch from disco to techno and acid house is more pronounced. The Techno influence is probably why a lot of reviewer likened him to the Pet Shop Boys, a comparison I find amusing. Some of the songs have ambient overtones to it. Some of it is a bit confusing to my ears; the lyrics are giving way to a more overall soundscape. But I do find it a fascinating effort.

Time Lord (1993) was the last album to be released by Creation Records and it described by Momus as “the album that shot itself in the foot”. It was recorded during a controversial romance . It is basically a love poem but is filled with so much ambivalence and self-indulgent that it makes for difficult listening. Even though, or maybe because of that, I find this the album I come back to over and over because of its complex emotions. The lyrics and melodies are quite beautiful especially on “Platinum”. It appears to be one of Momus’ least popular albums which I think is a bit harsh.

All six albums are available from UbuWeb. You can also find them on Momus’ blog. In both cases you will get great liners notes featuring Momus’ past and present views on his music. You can also drop by Momus’ web site for lots of other free MP3s. And, of course, if you like the music, support the artist by buying his CDs.

[ The Poison Boyfriend (1987) ]
[ Tender Pervert (1988) ]
[ Don’t Stop The Music (1989) ]
[ Hippopotamomus (1991) ]
[ Voyager (1992) ]
[ Time Lord (1993) ]

Related Links:
Momus’ Website
Momus on Wikipedia
Momus on MySpace
Momus on LastFM
Momus on YouTube
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