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Moloko - 11000 Clicks

Sanctuary Records // Unrated // September 14, 2004 // Region 0
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Gil Jawetz | posted October 11, 2004 | E-mail the Author

If there's one word that you wouldn't use to describe the biggest bands to spring out of mid-90's industrial Britain like Portishead and Massive Attack it's "fun." God love 'em, but they trade on spooky atmosphere, introspective lyrics and dour mood. Springing from the same scene and using some of the same arsenal of sounds and styles, Moloko found a way to infuse the creativity of those bands with a sense of poppy fun and swagger. Credit that side of their music to sassy singer Roisin Murphy. The Moloko 11,000 Clicks DVD documents the band's final gig on their 2003 UK tour at the Brixton Academy.

The performance is high energy and filled with Murphy's strutting persona. She may not be the strongest singer out there but she has a way of taking Brit-pop and enhancing it with a Shirley Bassey-blare. She takes the stage with full diva-confidence but her persona also seems to be part put-on: Her wardrobe contains some strange choices and at one point she puts on knee-high leather boots right on stage. Her loopy dancing (in high heels) during "Come On" lets you know that she's got a sense of humor, although it leaves her almost completely out of breath for "Fun For Me," one of the band's most well-known singles. At times she tries a bit too hard to combine her brassy dame character with modern beats but it does make this band stand out.

The musicians are a low-key bunch, barely ever drawing attention to themselves as they groove away on their instruments, but they're obviously a well connected bunch. They change up tempos and keys together and give the impression that their collaboration comes effortlessly. Some songs like "I Want You" have an almost disco-like simplicity to their rhythms that get repetitive but then the band will launch into a song like "Absentminded Friend," which uses stuttery beats that bring out the hypnotic style of their era.

Set List:
Familiar Feeling
I Want You
Absent Minded Friend
Day For Night
Come On/Fun For Me
Where Is The What
Cannot Contain
Pure Pleasure Seekers
Time Is Now
Statues
100%
Forever More
Sing It Back
Encore
Being Is Bewildering
Blow By Blow
Indigo

VIDEO:
The anamorphic widescreen video is good, if a little murky. The cinematography, however, is very moody and atmospheric, more than most concert DVDs. While compression is visible on some of the darker shots, the way the show was presented and shot makes the film more interesting that it might have otherwise been, given a general lack of detail in much of the video.

AUDIO:
Both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS soundtracks are included. They both sound very good with the crisp instruments separated out nicely. This isn't sloppy live music; It's precise and well orchestrated and the sound mixes here show that off well. There's also a PCM 2.0 mix that suits the music pretty well. It's less crisp than the multichannel mixes but still communicates the music well and has clarity.

EXTRAS:
A strange home video shot by Moloko's Eddie Stevens is included. While there are times when it meanders off, it does provide an interestingly intimate view of life on the road. There are also some "hidden transitions" that can be turned on or off although I wasn't entirely sure what that meant. It must refer to some additional footage shot by the band. Not a stunning collection of extras, especially considering that this is a band that isn't too well-known. A little more background would have been nice.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
Moloko's fanbase in the US is limited but their brassy sound has appeal. It's possible that their time has passed and in researching the band for this review (the disc came with no printed material) I've found some web-sites referring to Murphy's leaving the band to pursue a solo career. If that's the case then 11,000 Clicks might not only be the release that introduces the band to new fans but also their farewell.

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