Virgin Prunes

The Moon Looked Down and Laughed

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The sound of 1986's The Moon Looked Down and Laughed is the sound of a band being pulled apart by the differing ideas of its members. This is easily the tamest Virgin Prunes record on the market and the band's nadir. There are more conventional song structures here, on cuts like "Heaven," "Just a Lovesong," and "Betrayal," but they are unfocused, utterly forgettable melodically and even atmospherically. Atmosphere was always the Prunes' strong point. David Bowie's early-'80s work seems to be a strong influence here, and where previously Gavin Friday had been able to carry a song by the sheer force of his voice, his overly enunciated and exaggerated vocal gestures here just water down the proceedings further. But the real tragedy here is the lack of wildness and adventure. The record sounds tired and uninspired, leaving the band to whimper itself out of existence rather than roar.

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