R. Stevie Moore and Jason Falkner - May It Be

by Kevin Orton Rating:6 Release Date:2017-02-24

Make It Be kicks off with a mean Stones riff and the charming sentiment, “I hate people”. One listen and it’s not hard to join the party. Never has hating people sounded so good. 

R. Stevie Moore may have built his reputation as a Lo Fi hero but his talent has always been A-list. The son of legendary session musician Bob Moore, R. Stevie created his own legend via home recordings for decades. Here we have an offering that is far from Lo Fi. Abetted by Jellyfish’s Jason Falkner, the two here have put their love of Beach Boys to good use on ‘Another Day Slips By’ and ‘I Love Us, We love Me’.  This is the kind of stuff Andy Partridge might be cutting if XTC were still active. Pure Pop bliss.

‘Stamps’ has all the energy of early Punk bands like Buzzcocks with R. Stevie Moore’s eccentric obsession with stamps passing for a lyric sheet. On first listen it’s all rather silly but reading between the lines it’s about growing obsolete in an increasingly technological era.

‘Horror Show’ is pure 60’s Psychedelia, sounding like something off the Nuggets compilation. “She has joined the horror show,” Moore and Falkner sing with gleeful disappointment. Again, I’m reminded of XTC in their alter ego guise of Dukes of Stratosphere.  

I’ll admit spoken word interludes like, ‘Strictly Prohibited’ are annoying and unnecessary but beautiful slathering’s of Big Star Pop like, ‘Sincero Amore’ more than make up for such tomfoolery. This is the kind of thing one wishes Alex Chilton would have cut in his later years.

‘Don’t You Just Know It’ takes you straight back to the 1950’s R & B. It’s an uncanny homage to a bygone era but I confess, amidst the confections thus far on offer, it’s a bit jarring stylistically. But can anyone be blamed for having fun? Regrettably, it’s not a momentary digression. We’re soon taken on a self-indulgent tour of the duo’s talent for diversity. The goofy of ‘If You See Kay/Run for Your Lives!” follows, bringing the cynical antics of Frank Zappa to mind.  The instrumental, ‘Guitar Interplay Dos’ dips its toes in the cool jazz pool.  We’re soon taken on another ride with the synths and Barry White pastiche of ‘That’s Fine, What Time’. At this point, May It Be has lost all coherence and consistency.

Moore and Falkner take a break from experimenting with the gorgeous, ‘Play Myself Some Music’. It’s a momentary relapse, however. ‘Passed Away Today’ is another foray that makes for a disjointed listen. An exercise in Jazzy ambience that doesn’t really go anywhere. After another intrusive spoken word interlude in ‘Record Drop’, we’re thrown to the growling lions of, ‘I Am the Best for You’. It’s a hard-rocking exercise that isn’t entirely convincing. The last track leaves us with R. Stevie babbling and getting his weird on.

All in all, May It Be is an uneven effort, that all too often strays into self-conscious eccentricity. Which is a shame. Because tracks like, ‘I H8 Ppl’, ‘Another Day Slips Away’ and ‘Horror Show’ hint at what could be if these two could reign in their self-amused impulses.

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