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Moby - Everything Was Beautiful And Nothing Hurt (Album Review)

Thursday, 08 March 2018 Written by Graeme Marsh

Moby’s had a bit of a raw deal over the years. Granted, the astronomical success of 1999’s ‘Play’ was always destined to become a millstone around his neck. But since then he’s put out 10 albums, including the impressive ‘Innocents’ from 2013, and most flew well under the radar.

More recently he has ventured outside the box with his Void Pacific Choir project, but for studio album 15, ‘Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt’, he’s returned to his electronica-meets-ambient core. These days his take on it is deeply melancholic.

Like a Motherless Child and Mere Anarchy were the first two singles to arrive and both betray some of the issues with the record.

The former comes unstuck thanks to an overly repetitive lyric - “Sometimes I feel like a motherless child” - while the latter is built from stop/start atmospherics and a slow, cinematic tempo.

The repetitive nature of these songs is a problem. The Waste of Suns is a pale imitation of Bomb The Bass’s Winter in July that relies on a constant, tinny percussive beat. The Sorrow Tree is similar, arriving based around an uneventful electro hook that must have taken all of two minutes to write.

Another Moby trait is spoken word segments and they’re also heavily featured on the dreamy The Last of Goodbyes and The Tired and The Hurt, which, despite the chorus elevating the song as best it can, epitomises the collection’s downfall: Moby is far too reliant on vocals from Mindy Jones, Julie Mintz and Apollo Jane to enrich otherwise dull and lifeless numbers.

This is music from a relaxation lounge at a health retreat, where the emphasis is on total peacefulness to send you to the brink of sleep. The cyclical boredom of Falling Rain and Light would fit the spa playlist perfectly, as would the wispy echoes of The Middle is Gone. Going even further, the funereal beat and vacant piano line of closer A Dark Cloud is Coming are guaranteed to produce yawns aplenty.

Given what goes on around it, This Wild Darkness is a welcome surprise. Fleetingly recalling his masterpiece Porcelain, Moby has crafted a dangerously infectious chorus adorned with gospel-like harmonies. It is a delight, despite again being overly repetitive.

Moby’s burgeoning catalogue undoubtedly contains many overlooked gems that deserve a lot more credit. ‘Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt’ unfortunately isn't one of them. It lacks enough life to sustain it, unless you’re desperately seeking a new record to help cure your insomnia.

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