R. Stevie Moore

Urgent/XVII

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Experimental but not forbiddingly difficult, 1980's Urgent shows that even during the period when R. Stevie Moore was at his most prolific in creating catchy, quirky pop songs, he still had a musically adventurous streak. The tone is set by the lengthy opener, "And I Thought of You," which layers obsessively repeated spoken-word phrases by Moore and Margaux Ravis over a Krautrock-ish electronic pulse. (The reprise at the end consists solely of the vocal parts.) In between those two come a playfully deconstructed cover (sort of in the style of Hybrid Kids or Silicon Teens) of the Animals' "It's My Life," a terrific pop song written and sung by Moore's longtime friend and associate Roger Ferguson and some similarly warped originals. Continuing the archival bent of many of Moore's releases, the album also features clips from two 1980 appearances on New Jersey's famed late-night institution The Uncle Floyd Show, along with the audio tracks of two commercials for the R. Stevie Moore Cassette Club that also aired on the show. Not only that, but for fans of audio ephemera, there's another installment of the adventures of Mary Mae, an unknown teenager whose endearingly goofy experiments with a new home tape recorder Moore found by accident and occasionally included on his own recordings from this period. The CD adds 1979's XVII, three tracks (comprising a little over a half-hour between them) of lengthy, keyboard-driven, largely instrumental tunes that alternate between pop-song melodicism, noisy experimental freak-outs, and agreeably aimless noodling.

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