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R. Stevie Moore Lo Fi High Fives: A Kind of Best Of Review

Compilation. Released 2012.  

BBC Review

Songs of subterranean AOR, with guitars tripping the light fantastic.

Martin Aston 2012

The back catalogue of 60-year-old Robert Steven Moore makes Guided by Voices look like Kate Bush by comparison, and Ariel Pink as idiosyncratically weird as Cliff Richard.

Moore has released between 400 and 500 – no one really knows – cassette and CD-R albums. This, amazingly, doesn’t quite equal the prowess of his dad, Nashville session veteran Bob Moore, whose CV includes Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison.

Stevie’s talents are more, ah, eccentric (check his Wikipedia photo, a front-combed grey explosion). One reviewer bore witness to “an outrageous collection of musical brain spewage," though this one-man-band (he plays guitar, bass, keyboards and percussion) is probably a lot more proficient than you or I.

Cherry Red has released two compilations before, but this collection (from Tim Burgess’ O Genesis label) comes on the back of this year’s Record Store Day single: Moore covered The Vaccines’ Post Break-Up Sex, they in turn covered Why Should I Love You?, a neat slice of surf-power-pop included here.

It’s one of the tidier ditties, alongside the Casio chug of Dutch Me and the broody, oddly moving Big Mistake. But even when he’s tidy, there is a sense of something wobbly, something not quite right, as if Moore was recording after 48 hours of no sleep. 

Here Comes the Summer Again, for example, nails what David Quantick’s sleeve-notes describe as George Harrison channelling Beck, Cheap Trick remembering a Residents song once heard on a strange radio, or a Beach Boys’ John Peel session. All are valid comparisons. Pop Music is well titled, with blended horns, but it’s a bit Syd Barrett-y and the guitar solo is bendy. Little Man’s chord progressions feel very ELO, but would Olivia Newton-John want to sing it?

Moore’s favourite default position is a style of subterranean AOR, with guitars flanging and tripping the light fantastic. On a very lo-fi budget. So God bless the person who had to cherry pick these 14 tracks. Lo Fi High Fives all round. Meanwhile, his Wikipedia page says Moore has plans for more recording projects. Stevie, you surprise us.

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