Momus – Otto Sooky

Otto Sooky

Momus is Nick Currie, a globetrotter who has seemed to live just about everywhere I wish I could visit. Under the Momus name, Nick has released 16 albums in the past 20 years. Some of these releases have been quite controversial. One album was even described as “a record about sex for children.” In 1994, Currie married then 17-year-old Shazna Nessa, much to the dismay of her Bangladesh-born restaurateur parents, who sent Shazna back to Bangladesh to enter an arranged marriage. Shazna escaped and found her way back to Currie. The couple then went underground because of fears that she might be kidnapped. Currie has worked with artists like Kahimi Karie, The Soft Ballet, Pizzicato Five, and Stereo Total. Now that I have your attention, lets move on to Otto Spooky.

The album opens up with “Sempreverde,” a slow electronic version of a what sounds like a weird Irish pub song. The lyrics, which include a conversation about rape, are sung in that computer voice. Taking into context the computer voice, Currie might be making more of a statement about technology than the actual act of a rape between two humans. “The Life in the Fields” mixes some samples and an acoustic guitar with Currie’s strange vocals and lyrics: “Meet me in the waving summer / The question mark in the scarecrow’s eye / Making out by the rhododendron / Pull me down, and pump me dry.”

Otto Spooky continues with “The Corkscrew King,” a catchy tune about an impotent king. “Klaxon” is an upbeat, Arabic-styled song sung in French. On “Robin Hood,” Currie sings about the hero of the good and poor meeting his match against his arch-nemesis, Dooh Nibor. “Lute Score” is quite genius, and my one of my favorite’s of this album, combining modern-ish video game lyricism and samples with lute playing for the high score. “Jesus in Furs” is Currie’s take on Mel Gibson’s Passion with some droning violins playing in the background and a unexpected moment of some electro-clash right before the ending. With “Bantom Boys,” Currie takes a break from electronica for most of the song and goes in the direction of a medieval-ish hymn.

Otto Spooky is an excellent album, yet sometimes too long for my attention span. The 15 songs all have a unique story and lyrical and musical approach. On repeat listens, I was able to garner more appreciation for Currie’s creation by taking each listening session and breaking down the lyrics or music. After doing this, everything gelled together and my appreciation for this album significantly increased. On a whole, it is not an easy album to listen to. If you do listen, come expected to be overwhelmed by the tenacity at the direction Currie takes with his songs.

Overall, Nick Currie reminds me of a French author named Georges Bataille, whose sexual and erotic text often drew more attention than his philosophical and metaphorical overtones. Like Bataille, Nick Currie might be misunderstood, but if you look deeper into his albums, you will either see a genius or a raving lunatic. Or an equal amount of both.