1987 (What The Fuck's Going On?)- Library of Mu

Library of Mu record:
Title: 1987 (What The Fuck's Going On?)
Date: July 1987 ?
Journal: Q Magazine
Author: Ian Cranna
Type of resource: Reviews
Status: text
No. views: 4095
Description: review found it dissapointing: "too few ideas being spread too thin" ... "all the magic moments on this record ... have come from other people's work".


1987 (What The Fuck's Going On?)

By Ian Cranna (July 1987, ? Q Magazine)

***

When their single All You Need Is Love first burst upon a stagnant scene a few months back it seemed an inspired moment of pure wildness. Here were Red Clydeside beatbox rappers pointing a finger at society, putting their record together from samples pirated directly from other people's recordings, while at the same time crossing almost all contemporary music tribal boundaries by including everyone from Samantha Fox to The MC 5 among their victims. Not even the subsequent discovery that The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu (a name appropriately stolen from a bunch of time-travelling anarchists in Robert Anton Wilson's Illuminati trilogy) were merely Bill Drummond (ex Teardrop Explodes and Echo & The Bunnymen manager) and Jim from Brilliant could diminish the power of this extraordinary record. Quite an act to follow, then, and perhaps predictably this follow-up LP is a disappointment.

Here there are simply too few ideas being spread too thin. This is partly because the concept of sampling seems have run away with the duo and some of the inclusions (tube train noises, football results being read) seem pointless and leave the impression of a random hotchpotch. It's also because some of their own songs are allowed to drag on for far too long, and because their rapping (while happily free of sexist bragging) still sounds too apologetically British-despite being mostly in a fearsomely broad West of Scotland accent-and lacks the necessary bravado to be entirely convincing; likewise their use of the beatbox is altogether weedy.

This is not to say that the LP is a wash-out. There are some wickedly amusing ideas and moments of pure poetry in the lyrics while some of the musical juxtapositions (such as the scratched rhythm under Abba's Dancing Queen or the introductory chords of Stevie Wonder's Superstition being followed by Julie Andrews singing The Lonely Goatherd) are both killingly funny and strong enough to stand repeated listenings.

In the final analysis, though, it has to be said that all the magic moments on this record (whether it's The Monkees' Last Train To Clarksville, Dave Brubeck's Take Five or Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love) have come from other people's work. The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu's own ideas are valid enough but to make them work properly they need to restrain their enthusiasm and weed out the weak ideas from the strong. It's one thing to shoplift but altogether another to set up in business for yourself. IAN CRANNA

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