Adrian Cooper has been unwell

Old reviews that are no longer available online, or from sites that no longer exist. The pen is dead, long live the camera.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Beatbox, Swansea

Fed up with bands being built up just so they can be knocked down when they drop out of fashion? Well, here’s a novel idea; how about knocking them down before they’ve even discovered the bottom rung of the ladder? Let’s not even give the fuckers an opportunity to work out how to climb out of the doldrums in the first place.

Mohobishopi are V2’s new little darlings, but then they live in Wales, so that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. But wait, before you cry ‘oh no, not another safe, dull, mediocre rock band who never even deserved to make it onto the pub circuit’ you should take a couple of minutes to listen to the singles again, because on record, Mohobishopi sound like Ten Benson forming a tribute band who can’t decide if they want to be Magoo or Mercury Rev. The buzzing effervescence and saccharine coated pop of ‘Smoke Yourself Thin’; the Flaming Lips homage (or libel case, depending on your point of view) of ‘Fingers Are Cool’; and the trash-punk aesthetic of ‘Kate Is Cool’ may even lead you to concede that Wales has finally been partly responsible for creating a band who see that John Cale as having had a more significant impact on music than Tom Jones could ever have hoped.

All sounds good so far doesn’t it, so where’s the catch? When does the backlash start? Well, right here and right now unfortunately. After arriving late for the gig and then soundchecking forever, you’d expect Mohobishopi to set out to prove that there’s more to their oeuvre than hysterical hype, empty rhetoric and other people’s tunes. But it seems that even such a simple task as gaining the crowd’s attention is beyond them. If we must play music journalist games – and as that’s what I’m not getting paid for, I suppose we must – Mohobishopi sound like a flight of stairs falling down …, well, just a flight of stairs falling down; a jumbled mess of notes, a tuneless clatter of instruments and a few pained yelps in the background contributing to such a ramshackle cacophony that, instead of one of the most talked about new bands in Britain, leaves Mohobishopi somehow conspiring to sound like fifth-form art students rehearsing in a bread bin.

Within the space of three songs they’ve already lost the crowd, and the only time that they are able to prise a reaction from the listless audience is when Martin trips over his amp, unplugging the guitars and bringing a much appreciated respite to the embarrassing spectacle unfolding in front of us. When the debacle has finally abated, Mohobishopi mutter their goodnights, and slouch off, feigning nonchalance, but even the thick layer of arrogance and pretension that they’ve slapped on as liberally as their eye-shadow can’t have hidden the fact that their departure was greeted by complete silence, with not even the slightest spattering of applause or heckling.

If this was had been an early gig by a bunch of incompetent unknowns then maybe you’d let them off, suggest that maybe nerves and a desperate need for affection had got in the way of their talent and ability. You’d ignore the fact that they just seem to be trying too hard, that their wacky outfits, carefully rehearsed posturing and fake American accents leave them looking about as contrived as Westlife. As it is, V2 seem determined to throw money at them, but if tonight’s performance can be considered typical, then rotten fruit (or perhaps tinned, if you’re feeling particularly sinister) would be much more appropriate.

It appears that Mohobishopi can’t really be bothered, so in that case, why should we? As with most people so eager for your attention and adoration, it’s maybe best to ignore them and hope that they fuck off back home to cry in their bedrooms, surrounded by the records that they’re so desperate to imitate, until they learn how to behave themselves in public. If you see Mohobishopi in the street tomorrow, spit on them – eventually they might get the message. For now, they should just try and remember that if they insist on sticking their head up their arse, then they’re just going to smudge their make-up.