Is the Only Truth Really Music? Unwrapping The Moment, Part One of Two

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Thinking, each one, “Here comes the winter!
Please God I keep my job this year!”
And bleakly, as the cold strikes through,
Their entrails like an icy spear,…
George Orwell, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, 1936.

From Stadium Rock to Personal Pop
A cool and breezy Saturday in early June here in Cardiff, and – just last evening - the Manic Street Preachers performed in the grounds of the Castle, whilst One Direction – or 1D (so, corporate, so depthless!) – entertained all at the Millennium Stadium. Due to the fact that I live just around the corner from the embankment of the River Taff as it flows through the city centre, both concerts came across loud and clear all night long. However, a rock band well past their prime, and an aging ‘boy band’, do not interest me one iota. Stadium-size events, where those on stage have little or no contact with the vast sea of people stretching out in front of them… No thanks.

As a result, my mind drifts back to a balmy late-evening last summer – well, the 23rd of July 2014 to be exact – and my witnessing of The Moment playing live at Clwb Ifor Bach (known locally as “the Welsh Club”), on Womanby Street (a back alley, with one entrance bang opposite the walls of the Castle). Following spirited performances from two support acts (including ’79-era Modsters, Squire), The Moment took centre stage, and launched into a blinding, clam-tight performance, where old anthems and new, soon-to-be-classics, blended together seamlessly. Amid this condensation-drenched, small-ish venue, and with the audience up-close-and-personal with the sweaty band, a close bond between artiste and fans was cemented. Then, it was all over, and all were drained but satisfied. A set list was thrust into my hand by a fellow gig-goer (thereafter, a cherished memento of this night), and chit-chat and drinks with the members of The Moment ended it all. Finally, stumbling out into the warm night air, a short stroll home.


From Moment to Moment
To the uninitiated, The Moment started out, in the mid-1980s, as the Mod power pop trio who should have stepped forward and filled the post-Punk musical void following the break-up of The Jam a few years earlier. For the music press at the time made the erudite observation that, without doubt, “The Moment want to be The Jam wanting to be The Clash”. With Adrian Holder providing vocals and lead guitar, and Robert Moore also lending a hand with singing as well as playing bass, the drum stool was filled by Anthony Lambdon. Debuting, in 1985, with the single ‘In This Town’, The Moment continued with a string of incendiary releases: follow-up 7”, ‘One, Two, They Fly’, a stunning long-player, The Work Gets Done (again, both 1985), and the magnificent ‘Ready To Fall’ EP in 1989. With an eventual change of drummer (Lambdon upped and left, for Martin Colegate to pick up the sticks), and a sharp, tight brass section being added, The Moment toured endlessly both the UK and mainland Europe. In doing so, they transformed themselves into a formidable live act that, quite simply, transcended the narrow confines of Mod. Eventually, though, the music business took its toll, and the band split in mid-1990. However, by some miracle – and, quite possibly, due to many personal twists and turns of fate – The Moment are now back. With the powerhouse that is Brett ‘Buddy’ Ascott (ex-The Chords) banging the drums, they have reformed. Rejuvenated, and playing live once again, they have just released an eagerly awaited second album. Delivering – both on stage, and in the studio – a potent, perfect power pop, they are adamant that, as per the new album’s title, The Only Truth Is Music.

Truths and Music – A Q&A with The Moment
So, just last Monday (that is, the 1st of June 2015), The Moment’s all-singing, all-dancing website (http://themoment3.wix.com/themoment) went live at 8 o’clock in the evening. It was a launch that was preceded by the buzz generated by Adrian Holder’s ‘top 10’ that gradually clocked up, track by track, on The Mod Collective’s Facebook page, an hour or so beforehand. Then, just as I began to pen these words this morning, there was a sharp knock on the door, and, seconds later, our friendly postman was handing over my very own copy of the band’s ‘Supporters Package’. Hurriedly unwrapping the cardboard packaging, I removed, and spread out on my dining table, its contents: a T-shirt emblazoned with The Moment’s new logo, a signed copy of the original 12” vinyl of the ‘Ready To Fall’ EP, and the CD The Only Truth Is Music. Indeed, it was the latter – their brand-new LP – that I was oh-so desperate to, finally, hold. Nigh-on 30 years after their first, The Moment had now, at last, released its follow-up on Infenzo Records. A gate-fold sleeve (with a signed card insert, and my name amid a handful of lucky others – fellow ‘Supporters’ – inside), I flip it over, and, looking at the reverse, I read to myself the tracklisting of this 12-song release. But, enough from me for now, as – with 12 songs – here’s 12 questions, for Adrian Holder (Ade), Robert Moore, and Brett ‘Buddy’ Ascott, about The Only Truth Is Music:

PJ: You open the new LP with ‘LOY’ (or, rather, ‘L.O.Y.’). Would you like to expand, here, on both the song’s female characterization, and the song title itself?

AH: The L.O.Y thing is a reference to the texting phenomenon of the ‘smart phone’ social media age. It appears that important subjects, or feelings, such as love, can be stripped down to a short – in this case – three-letter message. So, it’s a modern-day love song. In a personal, desperate, and detached moment of panic, I can imagine the message/song being posted to an internet dating site. For, modern life appears to be encouraging us to sell our love in the same way we might apply for a job: ‘L’ love, ‘O’ only, ‘Y’ you.

RM: Ade was very keen for me to hear this as soon as it was written, and played it as a duet, with his son playing the riff on the piano. I think it’s a very ambiguous title, and has a very ‘free’ feeling to it. Furthermore, we made a lot of the single sax riff – kind of free Power Pop, very loose and groovy. As, Buddy’s drums give it that loose, elasticated feel. Oh, and this is great to play live!



BBA: This song is, of course, about my fourth wife, Mrs. Gladys Loy, a shot-putter from Neasdon! If you listen on headphones, you can even hear me exhale a rueful sigh as the song ends… But, seriously, yes, I love to play this song live, as it has a groove that I can just sit and wallow about in.

PJ: Track 2, ‘She’s A Modern’, is – with its chugging guitars and barroom piano – very bluesy, 70s rock (think The Faces or Humble Pie). So, is that decade’s all-denim, long-haired, heads-down boogie an influence? Or is it, instead, a ‘modern’ song about Mod?

AH: The life of a young Mod isn’t easy. I imagine there is the dream life of idyllic, stylish, movie-like perfection swirling around the heads of those that embrace the fashion and music of the Mod generation. In fact, this song is a take on a young Mod’s experience of the ‘difficult circumstances’ facing an ‘absolute beginner’. Her boyfriend isn’t cool enough, her boss is an arse, and she doesn’t make enough money. Yet, she believes she can take it because ‘she’s a modern’. Faith is a strange and wonderful thing!

RM: To me, it has a real simple, funky chug. Written about a year ago, it was one of the newer songs. In fact, we liked it straight away, and put it in the live set last year, just to give people a taster of our new long-player. Great to play. Rob’s [Rob Spark’s] keys are perfect.

BBA: I nicked (sort of) the repeating drum fill from one of my favourite-ever Eels’ tracks, ‘The Man’. Mark Oliver Everett, of the Eels, is also a great drummer (the jammy bastard!). His drumming has a ‘Ringo’ feel to it, and sets up the verses nicely.

PJ: As its title suggest, ‘Dance Your Dance’, is quite a toe-tapper. But, despite its apparent light-hearted musical mood, is there a deeper, darker meaning in there, perhaps, to the lyrics?



AH: With ‘Dance Your Dance’, I was thinking of someone I know quite well and – after a catalogue of twists and turns, false starts and disappointing let-downs – how his life has turned out to be not quite like he planned it. So, I just wanted to say, “keep on keeping on”, and “live your life your way”. Ultimately, it is a message of resistance to those that constantly tell us how to live our lives, what to say, and how to think.

RM: It was written a few years ago now. Originally, I had planned to get this recorded around a piano, and with lots of people there, singing the song live – like a good ol’ sing-along to finish the LP. Ade had, originally, demoed it as a simple, piano-led song, but, as always, it got groovier as the sessions progressed. Although, there’s a real tricky feel going on here, and I must have recorded up to 10 different bass lines – but, in the end, we went back to the simple groove. The beat, then, gives it the ‘Soul’ kind of feel – but in our own way. Indeed, Buddy’s drums really beef this up from the early demos!



BBA: This is something that you all have to know: I remember sitting at the back of the tour bus (Get me? ‘Bus’!?! More like a lawnmower!) last year, when Rob and Adrian were listening to rough mixes of some of the album tracks at the front, when – I thought to myself – “Well, that’s me buggered, then, as those tracks are finished, and there’s no way that they are going to want to put real drums over the drum patterns already there!” (as they were so good). Well, a week after the tour, they asked me to go into a studio and play the drums last (last!), over what were, essentially, the finished tracks – I thought they were mad, and I also thought it was impossible!... Turns out, I was mad, and it was possible! Perhaps at least one of those two revelations shouldn’t come as a surprise...

PJ: Again, at first listen, ‘Payday Loan’ comes across as a jaunty little ditty – as a tune, very, very easy on the ears. However, with its mention of ‘God’, ‘government’, ‘equal pay’, and so on, in what ways is this a scathing critique of contemporary life?



AH: This one is quite simple. It appears that the media, politicians, and ‘the boss’, would have us believe that the answer to all our problems is more money. When life takes a turn for the worse, don’t worry, just take out a ‘payday loan’. It is as true today as it ever was: the Money God doesn’t work for the worker.

RM: Ade and I grew up with our Dads listening to Johnny Cash on a Sunday morning, and so, eventually, all of this would raise its head. And it has – twice on this record! Ironically, this is also much more of a modern sound than many of our tunes. As, after playing Ade the first Jake Bugg album, he nodded, and smiled. A few weeks later he e-mailed me this as a demo, I smiled too.

BBA: I think this song really exemplifies what I feel about Adrian’s writing: What can, at first, appear as a jolly-up – and a simple pop tune – belies its bitter heart and acidic lyric. Adrian is, quite simply, a superb writer. Rob is too, of course, and I do hope this album really cements that opinion in people’s minds. In fact, as much as I am a fan of The Moment’s vintage stuff, I honestly believe that they are better writers NOW!

PJ: The fifth track in, and ‘Now You’re Staring’, is – with its double-vocal drawl – very late Velvet Underground-sounding. So, is Doug Yule an influence there?

AH: Well, this one is mainly Rob’s work, so I’ll leave it to him to explain it!...

RM: I love your take on this Peter!!!! Indeed, it was just a simple 4/4 take on Timebox’s ‘Beggin’’. I demoed this at home, and then took it all to Ade. He then swapped our vocal duties around (which is unusual in The Moment), so that’s why it sounds so – vocally – different. I do like some of the Velvet’s stuff, but it really was a case of trying to sound like Timebox. And, really, it’s a simple love song written about the life-long effects of falling in love. As, I really wanted a song that people might play before going out with someone that they have loved for a long time. So, it was also intended to be overtly optimistic. Oh, and I intend to do a 5-minute instrumental, Northern Soul-style remix with Gary Malby [ex-Moment brass section member] playing sax.

BBA: Well, I can’t wait to hear the remix, Rob, as I may even offer to join in on Kazoo! It’s gonna be fun to play live, and I would love to hear a BIG band playing all the parts together. In fact, for me, it was one of the easiest to record, because – again, for me – it’s a ‘natural’ song to play. Oh, and it’s got a great, throbbing, organ intro – so, what’s not to love!?!



PJ: With band members (and musical contributors to the album) quite, geographically speaking, widespread, what’s with this song’s inclusion of – and fascination with – ‘Battersea’? Indeed, who is, exactly, the ‘Queen Of Battersea’?

AH: The ‘Queen Of Battersea’ works in the sex industry and is a transvestite. Not an easy life. And, no, I do not know her. She is one of those characters that exist in the mind of a ‘writer’, but she is probably out there somewhere.

RM: This is a great live number – simple, and direct. We nicked the riff from Edwin Starr. And, incidentally, Ben [Addison, ex-Corduroy] did a remix job on this (it’s also great, but sounds nothing like this). This, to me, is the nearest tune to a single. Ade does a good ‘Wilco Johnson’ when you push him, and I feel I should have pushed a little more.

BBA: Well, I live about two miles from Battersea, and I’m rather worried that this song is about the future fifth wife!?! Having said that, I absolutely LOVE this, and I also think it would make a great single – possibly with a Northern Soul-style remix. Indeed, I can’t hear it without visualizing Rob bopping and gurning all over the stage during last year’s tour! For, it’s got great bass on it, and the bits he doesn’t play are just as important as those he does play – that’s the sign of a fine musician.

Part Two Here 
Read 3003 times Last modified on Wednesday, 24 June 2015 16:54

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