Seemingly inspired by the D.I.Y. pop possibilities afforded by MP3s and the Internet, along with a return to live performance after a long layoff, 2000's Love Compartment is R. Stevie Moore's sharpest and most pop-oriented disc in some time. After the Francophone female vocals of the fragmentary "Daze," the album gets off to a brilliant start with "Linger Longer Lucy," the sort of yearning, romantic pop song that has been Moore's secret weapon since the early '70s. Nothing else here quite reaches that height, although songs like the haunted, ghostly ballad "All Fall Long," the sprightly '60s-style sunshine pop of "Dewey Decimal System" and "The Holocaust Parade" (a collaboration with Terry Burrows of the Chrysanthemums that sounds like XTC in its Dukes of Stratosphear mode), a new version of Moore's '70s nugget "Dates" (featuring XTC's own Dave Gregory on lead guitar), and an achingly sincere falsetto version of Martin Newell's brilliant "I Wasn't Drinking (I Was Just Tired)" are prime Moore. The mocking faux-rap of "M&M's" shows that Moore pays more attention than most 48-year-olds to current musical trends, and the goofy lyrics -- basically describing a date in terms of what he and his lady friend ordered for dinner -- are filled with his trademark humor. The rest of these 30 songs is a typical mishmash, including a few covers originally recorded for various tribute albums and a couple of remakes of early Moore tunes ranging from the '70s (the angular rocker "Sort of Way") all the way back to the '50s (a good-natured remake of Jim Reeves' novelty hit "But You Love Me Daddy," the original of which had featured a seven-year-old R. Stevie Moore, the son of bassist and producer Bob Moore, singing the chorus) alongside a few relatively concise instrumental improvisations and even a prank call Moore made to his friends at fringe radio mecca WFMU during a pledge drive. In its good-humored eclecticism and occasional flashes of pop genius, Love Compartment is Moore's most characteristic and enjoyable set in well over a decade.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason
feat: Terry Burrows