Album Reviews

Mr Fogg – Moving Parts

(Kicking Ink) UK release date: 19 April 2010

The one man electro-pop band that is Mr Fogg was recently responsible for a jaw-droppingly bizarre live performance. Prior to taking to the stage, his laptop was apparently misbehaving, prompting a small rumble of muttering followed by a flouncing-off.

When the gig finally got underway, Mr Fogg unleashed a startling array of clich�d rock poses interspersed with a fair smattering of overwrought acting that even the most hammy amdram hobbyist would describe as “a bit much”. Such was the agony of witnessing a stadium-sized performance being played out in a fleapit cinema that the quality of his music was largely missed by an audience who’d decided that Mr Fogg’s set was the perfect time for a fag break.

So it’s with some apprehension that we approach Moving Parts, though its lack of visual stimuli is somewhat comforting. Also comforting to note is that Moving Parts proves the audience on that particular night missed out on a gem of an artist.

Moving Parts was recorded in Reykjavik with Bj�rk collaborator Valgeir Sigurðsson, and the production keeps things clean, never getting in the way and instead allowing the songs to breathe. There’s a definite nod towards the later stages of Radiohead‘s output – not least on the dark ambience of opener A Second Look. A bass line that sounds like an armour plated wasp hums and squelches away, at odds with Fogg’s high register vocals that, throughout the album, sound mortally wounded. Some cleverly judged strings add ballast, building the unease established by the sturdy bass.

Stung couples Mr Fogg’s indie rock leanings with some wonderfully sweeping electronic moments, culminating in a chorus that seethes in a curiously dainty fashion. It’s awash with glorious harmonies, and driven by some wonderfully propulsive drums that appear to be a gentrified drum and bass pattern.

I Will Let You Down finds Mr Fogg’s brittle voice in its spiritual home. A mournful organ, flapping drunken drum patterns and occasional electronic glitches provide a desolate soundscape for Mr Fogg to relate this tale of misplaced trust. The heavenly My Bones Creak once again displays his ability to create a dreamlike atmosphere and populate it with melody. Seciov meanwhile is a much more in thrall to straightforward pop music. For all the deft cutting and pasting of vocal samples it is, at heart, a well crafted indie-pop song of the sort Lo-Fi Allstars used to come up with.

Bloodrush is a slow burning, heartstring tugging wonder. A plaintive keyboard echoes the loneliness in lyrics while glittering electronic chimes swirl around Fogg’s downtrodden vocal. The clash of emotions is strikingly effective and lends an air of credibility by Fogg’s fragile voice. By the time his heart is stamped firmly into the ground on closer Answerphone, it’s all you can do not to hope that someone gives the poor chap a hug.

Moving Parts is an album dripping with great melodies and clever electronic touches that sound familiar yet never outdated. It could just be that Mr Fogg is destined for great things. Hopefully he won’t let us down.

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Mr Fogg – Moving Parts