Ziggy Stardust. Gorillaz. Hannah Montana. The Moonlandingz. What do all these artists have in common? Well apart from making great music, all these names are pseudonyms for the artists behind the music, fictitious alter-egos created to give themselves some creative leg-room, or to just get away with things that their normal selves wouldn’t be able to.
The Moonlandingz are one of these creations, billed as a ‘fictional Ouija Psych Pop Super group’ by the band themselves, they’re fronted by the eccentric ‘Johnny Rocket’ (or Lias Saoudi of Fat White Family), backed by his band of devils’ advocates, with the marvelous Saul Adamczewski (also of Fat White Family) on guitar duties and electronic synth wizards Dean Honer and Adrian Flanagan (both of Eccentronic Research Council) on keys, with various other members fleshing out the sound during live shows.
Formed only last year, they came out of nowhere with ‘Sweet Saturn Mine’, their first single and an absolute gem of a pop song, laden with glittering synth leads, wonderfully sleazy lyrics from Lias and a melody/chorus that will nest itself deep inside your head for days/weeks/months after you first hear it. That few and far between feeling you get when a song immediately punches through the musical wasteland of your subconscious and stands at the forefront waving a big banner that says “I AM HERE” is ultimately what every devoted fan of music searches for, that one song that reminds you just why you love this art form so much, and this one for me had it all. It’s no wonder then that it received a lot of airplay throughout 2015, especially on Radio 6 Music, and in particular on Marc Riley’s show.
Following the success of the single, the band entered the studio to record their brilliant eponymous 4-track EP, which was well received among listeners and critics, especially those already well enamoured with Fat White Family and Eccentronic Research Council’s respective outputs. Whilst in the studio the band decided to make themselves a little less fictitious and take the songs they’d been writing and rehearsing on the road. It’s in a bar in Yorkshire, on a murky lit stage with no fire exit in sight, where this band really comes together.
UK crowds jumped at the chance to catch The Moonlandingz in their real-life skin suits, and so tickets were snapped up quickly, small venues were packed out and the crowds knew the songs inside and out instantaneously, which is a real testament to their quality. The bands’ performances are not for the faint of heart, or for anyone that’s averse to the idea of moving an inch during the whole set, with sweating lunatic Lias’ on stage exorcisms a la Lux Interior of The Cramps, and the band’s harsh yet dance-able electronic onslaught reminiscent of bands such as Suicide and some of The Fall’s discography. These are the kind of bands we need though, ones that make you feel a little uncomfortable, make you feel something. We only need to look at the past.
Their feral yet sleek Tory-condemning pop really resonates with the disillusioned youth of today that are living in Cameron’s Britain (see their song 40,000 Years of Ian Duncan Smith as an example). With an almost primal-like energy and liberal leanings, what’s not to love? They stand out like a sore thumb in an endless sea of terribly-drab psych bands with almost nothing to say. You know the ones, where each member probably has a god-awful 60’s tapestry hung up on their bedroom wall above their bed (please, can we just burn them all and move on?).
They’re modern, fresh, fierce and ready for blood, whether it be the blood of George Osborne, or your blood, scooped up off the floor of the venue. We need bands like this because they are the ones that give other musicians a kick up the arse, and lend a voice to those dismayed with the people in power. They also know how to make everyone have a bloody good time whilst doing it, which helps.
With a full-length album being recorded with the one and only Sean Lennon in his studio in New York, and hopefully being released at some point in the next few months, we should be seeing a lot more of them soon. I’ll be catching them at Liverpool Psych Fest later on in the year, and then on their UK tour dates when they eventually release the album. Be sure not to miss out on these guys. You never know when the next ones will come along.