I was feeling bad that I neglected to review this when it was released last month, but then I realized that R. Stevie Moore puts out so much music that it's only likely that a prospective listner might miss an album or two, and that it's never too late to play catch-up with this kind of thing. So, I'm here to remind fans, and new listeners, that Afterlife exists, and that it is, like so many of Moore's albums, a superb ramble through the realms of power-pop and alt-rock. Or something like that.
The excellent opener "Irony" is mid-Sixties Beatles hooks wrapped up in a new kind of package, while the oddly-soaring "Pop Music" feels like something Sparks and Queen could have collaborated on. It's a blast of a tune, and a clear highlight here on Afterlife. Similarly, the prickly "National Debate" is more proggy, a marching beat overtaken by a gentle busyness in terms of instrumentation, while the excellently-titled "What Do I Do With The Rest Of My Life?" is all sleek New Wave, the surfaces here shiny and bright. Elsewhere, the peppy "Come My Way" sees Moore joined by younger pop wizards Jason Falkner and Ariel Pink for a number that sounds a tiny bit like "How Are You?" by Cheap Trick, of all things. "Love Is The Way To My Heart" is, as you can guess from that title, lovely, all big power-pop hooks and lilting melodies. In a word, the sort of thing R. Stevie Moore has cranked out thousands of times, and the sort of thing which seems new and fresh every time he does it.
Afterlife is yet another example of the talents of R. Stevie Moore, one of this country's real musical treasures. Moore's skill at crafting concise gems of the pop-form remains amazing. His nearest rival is Robert Pollard and Stevie's been doing this a good deal longer than Bob.
Afterlife is out now on various formats, and available via the links below. More details on R. Stevie Moore via the official RSM website.
[Photo: Uncredited BC pic]