[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
Yes, they are still with us. Their profile is greatly reduced and they don’t really play live much anymore, but there was a time when both those things were the exact opposite. Forever remembered for their 88 – 93 period, people don’t seem to realize just how long MOEV have been around, or that they’re doing some of the most engaging work of their very very long career. I’m going to stipulate that this album isn’t for the casual fan who owns their major label releases. It helps if you’re over 40 is another caveat, who knew we’d ever get this far. Enough with the remembrances, let’s get into this very accomplished record.
There are fourteen songs which make up their latest, clocking in at over seventy minutes of music. You make a commitment for the duration when this one goes on, again, this is a record which you will listen to from start to finish or you just won’t listen at all. If Julie Ferris’ voice isn’t your cup of tea, just forget it, she does all the vocals on here. MOEV have been fronted by her since the late 90s when they re-surfaced. Personally, her vocals I happen to like quite a bit. If she wasn’t there to balance out how grinding and mechanical ‘OneMinuteWorld’ sounds musically, you’d never finish listening. No, she doesn’t do angelic or pixie-pretty; she’s far grittier and realistic but her range just soars over the relentless beats and bombastic guitars.
Every band out there seems to have one component to it which changes repeatedly over time, vocalists would theirs. This isn’t the first time they’ve been configured this way, back in 1985 they had another lady fronting them. ‘Dusk and Desire’ was the album and if you haven’t heard it, I’d track it down. You’ll begin to see just how much range MOEV have. Far from being just purveyors of club killers, this Vancouver institution sound more like a band than ever now. I’m not even sure just who comprises them outside of Tom and Julie Ferris and frankly, I don’t really care. They have always been about gorgeous melodies you have to patiently sift through myriad layers of disturbing, unsettling loops to get to.
Sugary sweet their newest is definitely not, after all these years why would they capitulate? It is the ultimate irony that a varied and dynamic piece of work such as this will draw little, if any, attention. This is the band who basically put Nettwerk records on the map, their Limited Vision studio had time booked in it by luminaries such as Skinny Puppy and Front Line Assembly. They have always operated from behind the scenes, only now there’s no reason for them to deliberately do this, the public has neither the wit or wisdom to have kept track of them which is a damn shame.
I guess the best way I could describe where they fit in the musical landscape would be the bunch who own that landscape. Others played in it, some memorable records were made but when everything went quiet and the laughter stopped: they still remained. Don’t expect flashy videos or anything more than the odd live date (if you never got to check them out, I am truly sorry), what you can count on is a solid release that never pads or spits out filler. Each one of these little beauties is an odyssey for your mind, MOEV have often had to be pushed aside due to the concerns of other musical outfits but since they’ve been back they don’t follow anyone’s schedule but their own.