The Moth Poets - Doll

8 songs
29:39 minutes
***** **


Although The Moth Poets is a name that makes you think of a band, this is actually the brainchild of Billy Gilbert, who started as a guitarist in his native Scotland, and later turned to more electronic music, among others being a part of the international collective Anata Wa Sukkari Tsukarete Shimai who released also already music on Bearsuit Records.

At eight songs and half an hour length, Doll is too long to be an EP, and too short to be a longplayer. As a first solo effort all by himself, it strikes the right balance though, because the artist has just too many ideas to fit on a shorter space, but too long might also tax the listenerís attention. And yet the album starts out accessibly enough, with the ultra-catchy title track where a harsh programmed beat is accompanied by a fiercely distorted, multi-layered guitar. Itís also the only track with real vocals! This reminds me rather a lot of early Nineties Butthole Surfers, just after they gave up on the too weird and started embracing melodies. The following Someone Put A Time Bomb In My Submarine is a nearly six minute long instrumental with a repetitive beat where the artist adds layer upon layer of electric guitar, thus creating a truly hypnotic and pleasantly upsetting noise explosion. What follows now shows Gilbertís more experimental side. The Shabby Gentlemen starts is a two minute short track with a mellow first half, and a second half showing off weird playful sounds reminiscent of Pascal Comeladeís toy orchestras. Mothship Song feels like a post rock band joining up with the vocalising, lyric-less vocals of a Robert Wyatt. The Battles Of Tiny Colossus is another of those short tracks with a really slow first half followed by a more rousing finale. A Hole In The Mothship is a very introspective piece of music, nearly devoid of any discernible beats. The albumís longest track is Orange Peel Teeth at six minutes. This is a sequence of wobbling chord progressions that build up quickly just to fade in the distance, making you feel like travelling through clouds of stars. Quite science fictional stuff, but very different from the artistís more melodic stuff. Shy Bear Buffalo ends the album in a lo-fi folk way.

What remains is the conviction that Billy Gilbert is a musician full of most different ideas. At times Doll sounds like a collaboration from four or five different bands. Is that a good thing or a bad one? You have to decide for yourself, but I would have preferred two distinct records, one with melodic noise pop where The Moth Poets are really great, and another one for the headier material that you might listen to late at night or while reading a good book.

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