The new album from Moon Wiring Club, Striped Paint for the Last Post is finally here. Like the previous two Moon Wiring Club albums its a window onto a world created by artist and musician, Ian Hodgson. Its a glamorous, yet parochial world of Edwardian parlour hip hop, saucy occult rituals, supernatural sleuths and boiled sweets. At the heart of Hodgson's world is the town of Clinkskell, a kind of Royston Vasey re-styled by Biba and Hammer. Its populated by a huge cast of characters: chimeric animal headed magicians, sinister svengalis and impeccably tailored electronic musicians.
These 22 tracks form a kind of psyched out narrative of a parallel world England where the south is obliterated by flooding and a new and surreal monarchy is established in the North. Fuzzy voices with clipped accents rescued from lost VHS tapes of British TV drama pepper these mannered and spooky tunes, giving us just enough hints as to what might be happening. This is helped along by a bonkers little CD booklet full of beautifully imagined advertisements, and magazine clippings. Like all Blank Workshop output this is designed and illustrated by Hodgson himself.
In Striped Paint bright synth clarions and big echoey basses alternate with hazy recycled keyboard washes and TV sound FX. Its all buoyed along by jaunty and unashamedly strident trip-hop style beats, which drop (in and out) at all the right dramatic moments and propel events forward at an easy, ominous pace. Hodgson achieves a sound world that's comical and creepy in equal measure making Moon Wiring Club perhaps more worthy of the "H" word than anyone else these days. Needless to say this is hugely popular with all the youngsters at the Belbury Youth Club.
Striped Paint for the Last Post is available from the Blank Workshop giftshop.