Monday, February 29, 2016

Anthony Moore - 1981 - World Service

Anthony Moore 
World Service

01. Run Right Back
02. Pieces Of The Puzzle
03. World Service
04. Fat Fly
05. Broke'n Idle
06. Outta Angels
07. The Argument
08. Nowhere To Go

Paul Bass: Bass
Charlie Charles: Drums
Glen Colson: Drums
Ollie Halsall: Guitar
Hans Hartmann: Bass, Double Bass
The Orb: Drums, Percussion, Saxophone
Anthony Moore: Composer, Guitar, Percussion, Piano, Primary Artist, Vocals

The immediate follow-up to Anthony Moore's career pinnacle, Flying Doesn't Help, World Service is nearly as strong though less immediately accessible. The sound of the album is quite similar to Peter Gabriel's third and fourth solo albums, with a pronounced African and Middle Eastern feel to some songs, particularly the politically tinged title track. Moore lacks Gabriel's innate optimism, however, and the album's tone veers from darkly bitter (on the ironically poppy, upbeat "Broke 'n Idle") to downright bleak (the climactic "Still Nowhere to Go," which recalls some of John Cale's late-'70s work). World Service is a richly satisfying album with layered, complex arrangements -- along with Moore's multi-instrumentalist skills, the album features Ollie Halsall on guitar and one of the earliest appearances of Alex Paterson under his nom de disque the Orb on percussion and saxophone -- and pristine but not overly slick production, and its darker tones complement the comparatively light Flying Doesn't Help. [The CD reissue of World Service features some alternate versions of songs -- reportedly selected by Moore -- that differ from those in the album's original vinyl release. In 2012 the Floating World label paired this alternate edition of the album with Flying Doesn't Help in a two-disc set.]

I really enjoyed More's Flying Doesn't Help album so it didn't take long for me to pick this one up. In its original vinyl form it's a darker edgier affair than Flying. With Flying, reviewers struggle to figure out where More fits among his peers. On World Service I feel that he's moving closer towards a Peter Gabriel vibe a la Gabriel 3/Melt. The world music and percussion are more prominent here and the poppy sheen of Flying Doesn't Help is muted down. I actually like the mood on this album better than its predecessor and the good songs are really good. The performances and production are excellent. I have to penalize the album a bit because I don't really like the songs Fat Fly and Nowhere To Go: the former meanders aimlessly and the latter sounds like a conventional song that has been given an eccentric and slow arrangement. (In fact the alternate version of Nowhere To Go found on the cd is pretty good.)

When you take those songs off you're left with a 28 minute album. Still, those are 28 really good minutes.

The cd version I have of this album substitutes radically different versions of about half of the songs and adds other alternate bonuses. To be fair, the alternate versions are all performed and recorded very well and are much better than what we normally get as bonus tracks on expanded album releases. They just do not share the same style of the originals. The album's best song, Broke'N Idle, is presented in a decent but very poppy and short acoustic based version...this alternate is nice but nothing like the tour de force original. By the way, it is difficult to determine what vintage the alternate versions are but it's possible they were recorded much more recently than the actual album. If they are of more recent vintage, one laments that More isn't still writing, performing and recording his own music as he sounds engaged and vital in these tracks.

If the original vinyl sequence had been presented intact with the added bonuses and alternates it would be an indispensable cd. As it is, the released cd version is a bit schizophrenic with some tracks original and others altered. Unfortunately the only authentic version of World Service is the original vinyl. (Which I lost about 12 years ago as part of a bad breakup... so if any kind reader has a LP rip, yours truly will be really grateful if you could send a copy our way!)



  2. este disco me encantó cuando lo escuché. lo sentí un poco más intenso que el Flying doesn´t help, sobre todo en la guitarra y la voz, aunque a veces me recordaba a dire straits. pero es un disco que me gusta mucho. gracias por escatarlo!