Live Review: M O N E Y, The Corner (15/11/09)

M O N E Y arrive at Nottingham’s The Corner, a charming venue tucked away ‘on the corner’ of a Hockley side street, on the back of recently released debut album, The Shadow Of Heaven. All too often, such a delicate sound can be lost when transferred to the stage. But not tonight. Oh no, certainly not tonight.

M O N E Y reek of Joy Division gloominess and Stone Roses tribalism.

The fact that MONEY (in contracted form for ease of reading) hail from Manchester is no surprise. In terms of contemporary influences, they’ve borrowed from Wu Lyf’s list of PR tricks, with an un-googleable name and a series of mysterious online video releases, just to name a couple. However, they also reek, in the best possible way, of Joy Division gloominess and Stone Roses tribalism. On record, they’re the band that critics are pushing as Manchester’s next big hope, the band that could unite the current generation of Mancunian music-lovers. I agree.

With a name like theirs and song titles including ‘So Long (God Is Dead)’ and ‘The Cruelty Of Godliness’, there always exists the danger of MONEY being pigeonholed as the next Egyptian Hip Hop: pretentious, lifeless and dull. But oh, how unfair that would be. Because MONEY can make music. And I mean make music. Right from the bass-driven ‘Letter To Yesterday’ to the piano ballad of ‘Goodnight London’, MONEY exude imagination, intelligence and, dare we mention the word, uniqueness.

Before the foursome mount the stage, it is up to a nervous-looking lead singer Jamie Lee to count us in with an acapella version of The Pogues’ ‘A Pair Of Brown Eyes’. From this very first note to the final note of set-closer, a cover of Daniel Johnston’s ‘True Love Will Find You In The End, Jamie’s voice is sublime, switching effortlessly from gutteral yelps to breathtaking falsetto. His voice is backed by a rumbling bass, jazzy drums and flashes of guitar at its pop-inspired best.

What M O N E Y do best is create wave upon wave of atmosphere-soaked melancholia.

The aforementioned ‘Letter To Yesterday’ stands out as the set’s undoubted highlight, despite the bass being infected by a certain fuzz. But what MONEY do best is create wave upon wave of atmosphere-soaked melancholia, and that’s without a single mention of the lyrics because, I suspect, they deserve an article all to themselves. Bands of a similar genre rely on visual effects to deliver such an atmosphere, but M O N E Y do it through their bare hands and mouths alone. And long may that continue.

Alex Neely

[Picture by Shaun Gordon]

…Alex is listening to Cowboy Junkies – ‘Mining For Gold’…

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