In the time taken to make this album a frilled shark could have given birth twice, an elephant four times and a giraffe eight. It’s been quite a gestation. By Order Of The Moose (twelve times) by El Goodo is their third album, a whole eight years since their last.
For all of that, it is cohesive and thoroughly enjoyable, belying any of the difficulties encountered during its production. It has a humorous Western theme but one that is kept carefully controlled and doesn’t fall into comedy or pastiche. The runs of these tracks are also interspersed with other songs conveying very different emotions that engage on another level entirely.
Even amongst the Western tracks, El Goodo provide plenty of surprises, as if the genre is being cross-bred to produce the most unexpected hybrid. So, whilst ‘I Sit And Wonder’ makes a direct reference in the lyrics to the Western, ‘those guns are smoking’, this track is like Ennio Morricone meets Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The vocals are as unsettling as the Umpa Lumpas singing after Augustus Gloop has gone up the pipe.
‘September’ is more reflective, harmonies on horseback, and ‘So It Goes’ has us with the Mexicans in a town ready for a shoot-out. The rising refrain, ‘Oh oh oh, so it goes’ is as catchy as the theme from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. ‘When’ is Tarantino in a poncho, keeping the flies out of his eyes in a big black hat.
Other tracks draw on the heritage of the sixties. ‘Five In The Morning’ has the narrative and musical quality of The Kinks. It is one of the more pensive tracks, ‘’What am I supposed to say to you?…now I’m over you.’ But even at its most emotional, By Order Of The Moose sounds grounded rather like Super Furry Animals and it is on Cian Ciaran’s label that this album is released. Most touching is ‘Susan and Bill’, a timeless piece of music about Jones’s parents. Predominantly acoustic, the piece has Beach Boys’ harmonies and is evocative of The Beatles’ ballads about their families.
Of great intrigue, are the songs inspired by sixties’ girl groups. ‘It Makes Me Wonder’ is just that but sung with Pixy Jones’s voice not Ronnie Spector’s. It includes classic beehive pining, ‘my heart is aching…so now I get on with my life.’ ‘It’s All Over’ is about the near break-up of the band but could easily be a bubble gum pop song. Two minutes of super-sweetness.
The Good, The Beautiful and The Unassailable. The Magnificent El Goodo.
By Order Of The Moose will be released on 8th September 2017 through Strangetown Records.