Tag Archives: charismatic megafauna

Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business: album review

Review by Jelly Cleaver

Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business‘ eponymous LP begins with quasi-religious chanting, atmospheric screeching noises and percussion in the background. From this starting point the album evolves, exploring the different textures that can be found from the simple blending of voices.

With her background in art/party-punk band Charismatic Megafauna and as leader of the fierce feminist vocal ensemble, F* choir, you can hear these influences throughout this project which she describes as “choral punk”. The bare percussion that runs through the album, including marimba, shakers and bells, takes the soundscape from Charismatic Megafauna and puts it in a really different setting, with the drumming finally breaking through for a main feature in her track ‘Sandwiches’.

Mystic Business was originally formed in 2016 for a gig at Wysing Polyphonic in Cambridge, and they recorded the album straight afterwards in a three-day stint at Narcissus Studios in London. You get a sense of its immediacy in the recording, so fresh it’s not quite formed. Almost three years later, when the album was finally launched at Servant Jazz Headquarters in December, it was really brought to life on stage with more power, more fullness and more songs.

As she sings in ‘Flashbacks’, her most personally honest song on the album, she is trying to repossess choral music from it’s religious and patriarchal past. She says forcefully how good it physically feels to sing, especially the kind of community bonding you get from group singing, and it’s clear from the album that there was a lot of enjoyment in making it. As with ‘We Want Our Bodies Back’, often her songs are about reclaiming power, calling out the strangeness of the internet or choral music, but in a more gentle and humorous way than normal. Because of the music’s gentler arrangements, you can find it strangely relaxing, especially in the marimbas and wobbly pianos of ‘Flashbacks’.

Like in Charismatic Megafauna, most of the songs are made up of repetitive phrases that build with meaning. Sometimes the choir does these repetitions in cannons and rounds, a weird twist on traditional choral folk music, and as the cannon goes on things can get confused and distorted and lost. The repetitiveness also allows it to become meditative, throwing in surprises to wake you up, holding onto a shock punch line at the end.

There’s a strong sense of bizarre humour throughout, for example “I’d like to grow a tentacle or two, one for my Aperol Spritz and one for my drum stick”. Jenny’s speaking parts, which have been added more to the live act, add a lot of theatricality. Coming in as a contrast to the repetitive chorus, the spoken part sometimes acts like a cynical commentator to the drone of the choir. It’s a great way to tell a story through a song.

Catch Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business next on 26th Feb 2019 at Paper Dress Vintage.

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Charismastic Megafauna: 10 question interview

Charismatic Megafauna_Photo by Kate Bones_Styling by Kalina Pulit

Charismatic Megafauna describe themselves as ‘Party punk music for politically minded people’. They play drums – lots of drums – and they deliver powerful messages in a hugely fun way. They joined us recently on the LOUD WOMEN Radio show for some top laughs. We can’t wait to see them play on 9th June at the Hope & Anchor! In the meantime,

1. Who would you most like to cover one of your songs?
Boredoms

2. If you could add one member to your band – any person, living or dead, musical or otherwise – who would it be, and what would they play?
Bjork would play Bjork
3. What was the last song you wrote, where were you when you came up with the idea, what inspired it, and how did it turn out?

It’s called “Today is terrible, total ballz” and those are also the only lyrics. It was written on our band WhatsApp group on the way to rehearsal and was inpired by a collectively shit day. It turned out to be cathartic and repetitive, like most of our songs4. Which was your favourite gig you’ve a) played and b) watched?

a) We were the total out-of-place support act at the Old Blue Last once, felt totally freaked out beforehand, played to a huge crowd of people we didn’t know and they went NUTS. It was hilarious and exhilarating and generous and surprising and we loved it.

b) LONE taxidermist at The Future is Female Festival. Just see them. It’s indescribable

5. Recommend a record and a book that you think our readers might not have heard of.

Book – “Living a Feminist Life” by Sara Ahmed. To be honest people may well have heard of this, but it’s worth saying it again. This book is so honest about being made to feel “difficult” as a woman that it can be painful to read, but it’s worth it. It sent me back to therapy for the right reasons.

Record – Linda Perhacs, Parallelogram. I hope you know this record but am always surprised many people don’t — Linda Perhacs made one record (this one) in the 70’s and its really psychedelic and influenced a lot of excellent songwriters.

6. What’s your best piece of advice for young musicians?
Listen to each other, trust each other, trust yourself. Do it, do it again, do it again, do it again.

7. Your top 3 most beloved albums ever – go.

PLanningtorock – All Love’s Legal FKA twigs – LP1 Robyn – Body Talk8. What are your musical goals? Change the world Change ourselves9. What’s the most important thing we need to know about your band right now? We made our first LP and it’s out on 13 April and loads of people made it possible, especially our friend and Canadian artist Alexis Dirks who makes magical things happen. You can get it on Bandcamp or at our gigs!

Give your top 5 contemporary bands / musicians. Dog Legs – they play sporadically now since they live far away from each other but never before have we seen such joyous guitar and drums duo. they are badass and exhilarating and funny as hell.Big Joanie – the version of Nirvana we longed for as teenage girls. Big Joanie’s tunes as cool as fuck – surprising, efficient, and eclectic. SO COOL, we love them.Screaming Toenail – Their songs are funny, direct and true. We saw them at a friend’s event and were swept away by how they play. Dream Nails – they write sharp fun punk songs that are honest and unapologetic about living under patriarchyDog Chocolate – They’re great to see live and really great people too. Their sound is frenetic and the subject matter that they write songs about is refreshingly unexpected, for example plastic canoes and getting emotionally buff.