Although nothing has been written in stone its looking unlikely at this stage that we are going to see any new material from Moloko in the near future. Roisin Murphy has already forged one fine solo album which gained her a degree of critical appraisal even if it didn’t sell by the bucketload.
So to tide us over until somebody in the band fires the next shot and gives us something new to chew on we have Catalogue, the nearest thing to a greatest hits album Moloko are ever going to provide. Not an easy task considering the band have only ever troubled the charts on a sporadic basis at best.
That’s not saying they haven’t been responsible for some delicious slices of contemporary pop in their time. Ranging from the quirky edgy drum and bass clatter of their debut Do You Like My Tight Sweater through to the mature polished soulful pop of Statues.
You’d think then with a quality discography behind them that Catalogue would be a winning compilation for the uninitiated. Sadly no, there’s something about this album that brings out the cynic in me. Naturally the big hits are in attendance (Sing It Back, The Time Is Now) and you wouldn’t have it any other way. As tracks go the Ibiza stomper from the end of the last century still sounds wonderfully fresh and The Time Is Now still shines resplendent as a thing of beauty.
However the rest of the album seems to have been slammed together in slip shod fashion. The kind of collection that spells “contractual obligation fulfilled” just before a band are unceremoniously dropped. Its not that the songs are bad (far from it) but there is just no real evidence of imagination in the way this album has been put together. The collection leans towards the more chart friendly stuff and you can’t really fault the songs as individual pieces. Murphy never ceases to impress with her dexterous soaring vocals. One moment she’s an angel the next a funky urchin capably flipping between the characters she shapes as a singer. The big problem is the tracklisting. The songs come from varying points of Moloko’s career and as a result make strange and uncomfortable bedfellows. There is one new song in the collection (Bankrupt Emotionally) but to be honest it sounds like something that might have come from the Statues sessions and didn’t make the grade.
In order to add to my cynicism there are no less than three different online versions of the album depending on whom you buy it from (iTunes,MSN,Napster). The bulk of the content in these online formats comes on the “second disc” which features some absolutely storming remixes from their back catalogue which the CD buyer won’t get (there’s a limited edition live set from a Brixton gig on their Statues tour, I suspect it’s the soundtrack from last years live DVD).
In conclusion this all strikes me as taking the piss. A half hearted cash in with little thought or love for the material the band have provided over the last decade. If you want to catch better representations of the band have a look at their “proper” albums. (Do You Like My Tight Sweater, I Am Not A Doctor, Things To Make And Do, Statues) and if you want to have a listen to them when someone grabs their tunes by the scruff of the neck and remixes the hell out of them there is always the double CD “All Back To The Mine”.