Mother and the Addicts
Science Fiction Illustrated
Chemikal Underground


Mother And The Addicts – Science Fiction Illustrated
Item no. 320152298173
Starting Bid: £4.99

This is the fantastic new album from Mother and the Addicts.
(just came out last week!) (“Fantastic” is a bit strong. Try “middling.” On first listen, Science Fiction Illustrated was a solid and mildly entertaining mix of the Fall and Roxy Music, with propulsive two or three-chord riffs, bouncing keys with a trebly dated sound, and synths that sweep and swoosh like flying saucers. Worryingly, it was still solid and mildly entertaining on the fourth, fifth, and sixth listen. Aren’t there supposed to be hidden depths by now? Where are the clever melodies and harmonies and unpredictable chord changes that take a few listens to reveal themselves?

Mother—the leader of the pack—has a croon somewhere between Jarvis Cocker and Joe Strummer, which he deploys on songs about girls, lust, and relationships. His best lyrical moment is “So Tough,” a light-hearted New Wave strut that starts “Well, it don’t mean much to me / No, it’s really nothing / When girls cry they all sound the same / It’s most enticing.” Most of the best moments are in these faster numbers, particularly the Orange Juice-flavored “Roll Me On Over” and “Yeah Next,” which is propelled by a funky rhythm guitar in the same manner as Talking Heads.

The slower tracks are poorer—the feeble bitterness of “Going Native” is especially skippable—and suggest, in the context of the album, that Mother and the Addicts’ strengths are charismatic energy and immediacy. That’s great for live performance, but immediate understanding of a recorded album often suggests predictability—and, indeed, I knew all of the above after the first listen, and learned nothing new thereafter.)

Mother and the Addicts are signed to the super-cool Glasgow label Chemikal Underground. (They are super-cool. Chemikal brought Mogwai, Arab Strap, and the Delgados to the world, and Glasgow has a fine musical heritage and an active music scene. But that doesn’t mean everyone on their roster is quite so good, as illustrated by Science Fiction Illustrated.)

The Guardian awarded this 4/5. (It’s much easier to give the benefit of doubt to bands, like Mother and the Addicts, who are so uncommercial as to obviously be in-it-for-the-music—an unconscious helping hand for good intentions, perhaps. Of course I wonder if I’m being unduly harsh on a decent band that’s trying its best. But it’s also much easier to be satisfied when you didn’t pay a hard-earned tenner for the album, like I did, being even more disorganised than the average freebie-fed music writer. No, this isn’t harsh—I am going to the trouble of selling it!)

Selling because I have 2 copies, by mistake. (That’s a bare-faced lie. I usually think that selling albums from your collection is a bit like throwing out old photographs. Who knows what memories or insights you may have down the road, looking back at old photographs that meant little at the time? Similarly, as you change as a person, your music tastes change too, and you can see that evolution easier with an untouched music collection. But then there were these old Britpop CDs I found at home last month—like All Change by Cast, for example—where actually, I’d enjoy another pint in the pub more than seeing that CD gathering dust year after year. But for all that Science Fiction Illustrated’s heart is in the right place, it will still gather dust because there’s so little to discover beneath the stylish surface. Frankly, right now I’d rather have a fiver for a fish supper.)

In played-but-perfect condition. (And besides, I have it ripped.)

Happy Bidding!

Reviewed by: Ally Brown
Reviewed on: 2007-08-30
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