Clare Moore, the Moodists,
Picture Wayne O'Farrell
Moodists IBEAM Club (San Francisco) October
The Moodists are an Australian band by way of England and their music can
be seen in that light as well; they come off as a cross between fellow Aussiess,
the now defunct Birthday Party and Englands' the Fall. The Moodists use
guitars as weapons, confronting the audience with a relentles barrage of
knife edged noise. Like the Falls' Mark E Smith, vocalist (mind you, he's
no singer) Dave Graney talks, whines and sneers through the material with
detached disdain. Graney's lyrics are more straightforward than Smiths however
, just as the Moodists chunky sound is less abrasive than the Birthday Party's.
Because the Moodists write recognizable hooks and because Graney's repeated
phrases dig into the mind and take hold, there was order to their chaos."That's
Frankie's negative", the bands opener, built from grity, almost funky
guitar and swinging bass to sudden bursts of ravaging sound: Clare Moore's
drums kicking in ferociously amid a wash of distorted guitars. On "machnie
machine" guitarists Steve Miller and Mick Turner set up a rhythmic
figure and then the whole band pounded it into the groud- the slow torture
of repetition. Not easy to listen to or very exciting visually, the Moodists
nonetheless played a tight and distinctive live show, exposing another side
Tom Sattler LA Reader November 1984
The Moodists, the Fridge,
Australian rock, like Australian tennis , is enjoying a rennaissance.
Bands as diverse as the GoBetweens, Hunters and Collectors and the Triffids
are proof that our antipodean cousins are not poor relations , while Melbournes
The Moodists, one of several groups to decamp to Britain, have fast acclimatized
to the finer points of rock'n'roll. The Moodists utilize the tested virtues
of two guitars, bass and drums to devastating effect, wearing their influences,
mostly of the American Detroit hard edged variety, like badges of honour.
Any notion that they might lack presence was dispelled by a performance
whose intensity ranked with the Stooges or the MCt5 at their peak.
Singer Dave Graney looks deceptivley cute and curly but on the boards
he is like a man possessed, scything across the stage with a fervour recalling
vintage Iggy Pop.
The Moodists songs rise above the dross that passes for New Rock; they
have wit and haunting depth. The clamour of "Bad Cabin" or "Runaway"
expanded upon in the spooky "Frankis Negative" is then unbalanced
by the psychodrama "Thirstys Calling". All the material is delivered
with a commitment that inspires the physical reaction which is the definition
of great rock'n'roll.
A modest, appreciative crowd were held mesmerised in the Moodists sway,
their enjoyment suggesting the band's esoteric reputation is overstated.
What lingered was the memory of a band without a self conscious image
providing a Down Under sound that deserves to be on top. To paraphrase
the slogan, The Moodists are Australian for Rock.
Max Bell, the Times (UK) 1984
The Moodists, London University
Deadpan as doornails, they hammer through each epic with a delicately
crafted sense of imminent collapse, and amble around in lengthy pauses
The guitarists lean forward and beat out a hate battery of noise, the
oddly out of place Clare Moore tips back her pre Raphaelite locks and
slams the drums in the back of the undulating guitars-in such hands these
instruments make noise that is no longer natural. Meanwhile, singer David
Graney looks as menacing as a woolly haied Pete Shelley, but makes a sound
that burns- call the Fire Engines!"
Don Watson NME 1983
The Moodists, Graphic
Arts Club, Sydney 1985
And so finally to the Moodists, I shouldn't be allowed to write
about this band. Their return fro the UK has been eagerly awaited by a
loyal few, and scorned or ignored by the majority. But the Moodists can't
be hurt. Their rock music is compelling and transforms me into the unashamed,
uncritical and whole hearted devotion of a fan.
Skilful, elegant and shattering, this short set , enigmatic performance
reminded me why I loved this band so much last year before they left Australia.
The Moodists reject every musical cliche and have invented an alternative
that pulps the competition. One encore of "the Disciples know"
and they left me for dead, only one though in my mind: Rock'n'Roll lives!
David Nicholls, Smash Hits 1985
The Moodists seem to have taken the dreaded rock into a dark alley and beaten the holy
shit out of it. Each time they assemble on stage they seem to be growling
more awesome. Tonight "six dead Birds" and "some kinda jones"
rumbled along in true volcanic manner, threatening to belch out fuming lava
at any moment, and with the new single, "enough legs to live on"
about to drop on your doorsteps and scare away the postman, you'd better
shut the windows and put the kids to bed sharpish.
So give up Bone Orchard, Folk Devils, muesli, the Doors, Frddie and the
dreamers, perish the thought that Dave Graney plays Sancho Panza to Quixotic
Cave, The Moodists are real Boss Shitkickers and don't you forget it.
Bruce Dessau, NME 1984
The Moodists songs of dark, brooding obsessions,
heavy bass and drums and raging wall of noise guitars add up to a sound
that is notably original , and bracingly, aggressively visceral.
Their first album, "Thirstys Calling", recorded for England's
independent Red Flame label, is a powerful debut.But The Moodists forged
their reputation in Australia, and then in Britain, with live performances
; listeners who were moved by the claustrophobic intensity of the early
Velvet Underground or Joy Division will want to experience the Moodists
at first hand.
New York Times, 1984
Clare Moore, The Moodists, 1986.
Picture Bleddyn Butcher
The Moodists are Primitives who reduce the elements
of music back to their most basic., their most crude level and then proceed
from that return to zero. For the Moodists there is no decoration, no
embellishment beyond what is crucial. Other music which uses this trategy
to similar effect includes Flippers "Sex Bomb", Eddie Cochranes
"CMon Everybody" a, The Saints "I'm stranded", John
Lee Hookers "Black Snake Moan" and just about anything by the
Ramones and Little Richard.
Frank Brunetti, Ram magazine 1983
Reading University November 1983
An unholy noise erupts from the Union
Hall, and curious students start wndering in from the bar to check out
the commotion. They ain't heard anything like this in a long while, possibly
never. "Frankies negative, FRankies negative, Frankie without Frankies
trouble..." Dave Graney thrusts his hips lavisciously while crooning
the sorry tale of Frankie and his negative into the mike clasped in his
left hand, his voice astride a wall of crashing guitars and thunderous
drums. Its a mean, snarling sound , but Dave looks about as threatening
as an ice cream vendor , the cherubic face and mop of curly hair totally
contradicting any sexual tension or danger that the gyrating pelvis might
"Jim Morrison" shouts a lank haired youth to my right, partly
in derision and partly in admiration. The audience don't quite know aht
to make of the Moodists and that in itself is a homage.
Meanwhile, I'm quietly wondering how the Fall are going to follow a support
band as powerful as this.
Marie Ryan, Ram magazine 1984