Album Reviews

The Moi Non Plus – The Moi Non Plus

(Smalltown America) UK release date: 26 October 2009

The Moi Non Plus need not be compared with other guitar-and-drum-only combos like The White Stripes or The Black Keys. On their debut self-titled album, this Dutch duo doesn’t even cast a cursory nod to either of the aforementioned color-coded bands or their blues roots. Instead, The Moi Non Plus are interested in noise.

Call it post-punk, or post-post-punk or post-artcore, but whatever you call it, The Moi Non Plus’s sound is certainly post-modern, bordering on total nihilism. The duo create a noise much louder than their individual parts -between the rapid-fire drumming, the angular, biting, feedback-soaked guitar and the largely non-melodic yelling and hollering and you’ve got to wonder how much of this is rigidly rehearsed, and how much is just off the cuff experimentalism. But the general impression is that none of the music contained herein is accidental or ad-libbed.

Some comparisons can be made to the noisier side of Sonic Youth‘s or The Flaming Lips‘ avant garde artier stuff, and perhaps there are hints of Sweden’s The Hives (without the same degree of zany, post-apocalyptic fun). However, The Moi Non Plus defy comparison, opening their debut album with the far from funny Ha, Ha, Ha, and barreling through 30 minutes of breakneck nonsensical rock ‘n’ roll at a feverish pace.

The openers Ha, Ha, Ha and Jil Sander Makes Your Eyes Black serve to acclimatise the listener to a seemingly impossible level of dissonance, featuring some of the most angular and grating guitar work this side of Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ Rich.

The standout track Johnny opens with what very nearly sounds like a surf rock guitar riff complete with Dick Dale reverb – channeled, perhaps, through Dead Kennedys‘ East Bay Ray – but it quickly explodes into a twitchy, thunderous homage to ’80s hardcore � la Minor Threat. The shouted refrain, “Johnny says, he says I am a good man. Well Jonny knows that that’s just a lie,”�hits a nerve with its grating attack, and it’s representative enough of the general lyrical dexterity The Moi Non Plus possess. No matter; you can’t generally understand the words anyway over the din.

The droning Sudden Impact and the almost danceable I Want It present rare glimpses of melody, demonstrating that these two brash and angry young men do, despite their best efforts to mask it, have a gift for writing a catchy tune. This is not pop, mind, but the reprieve, however short-lived, is a welcome change of pace, sounding a bit like Band Of Horses for a moment before and after book-ending the mechanical, sample-heavy interlude I Am One.

The album doesn’t prove to be an easy listen at any point – especially not the first time through – but there’s a payoff in all the noise. The Moi Non Plus serve as rowdy and dissonant – but nonetheless welcome – reminders that one guitarist plus one drummer do not necessarily equal recycled blues riffs when a bit of art-rock aggression and neo-punk discontent are added to the equation.

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