Imagine for a moment that The Strokes were English, but dressed like outcasts
from Slade. And that they grafted a thick layer of wackiness onto their
songs and visual presentation alike. Sound appealing? Then Moco may well
be your new favorite band.
For the rest of us, Moco Spanish slang for "snot" are a much dicier
proposition, from the lead track, "Moco Loco" ("crazy snot," if my memories
from high-school Spanish class serve), which introduces the band's basic elements:
treble-heavy guitars and a meaty rhythm section underpin the deep, highly compressed
vocals of Steve Jones, who delivers a nonsensical tale about a girl "with eyes
on the back of her tongue/ [who] knows when it's properly done." Song the next,
a skanking pub-rock number called "Early Liz Hurley," serves to catalog just
how many words rhyme with Hurley, including surly, twirly, and girly. (Curiously,
Moco seem to have forgotten swirlie, though you may already feel like your head
is being flushed down a loo at this point.)
The ears perk up a tad with the opening riff of "Baby When You Die," which draws you in with a catchy circular guitar riff and easy loping strut before disintegrating half a minute in with some truly dopey "ai-e-ai-e-ai" vocals that remind us that it's Moco's world and we're just suffering whilst in it. Darn shame, because without these bits and some ill-advised barking, this would be a solid song. "She's Fine" glides along on a solid, "Wild Thing"-inspired chord progression before the men from Moco start imitating kazoos and Jones throws out a "cootchy cootchy" or 10 to derail another promising tune. "Where She Goes" plays like a harmless homage to Iggy Pop, while the otherwise undistinguished "Completely Gone" distinguishes itself by thankfully avoiding the desperate attempts at cleverness that otherwise permeate Moco's music.
Then out of nowhere comes the cool new-wave opening of "The New Official Truth," and with it a genuine glimmer of hope that Moco may not have created the worst album I've heard all year. Not even the spoken-word bits and Jones' occasional lapses into dog-speak can ruin this infectious gem, which wouldn't have sounded out of place on one of Wire's late-'70s albums. Similarly good is "Flooky Wonderland," which survives its dopey title (and Jones' requisite barking of it) to serve up a mess of interesting little guitar freakouts courtesy of Jones and Anthony Rigby, with Nick Higham's pulsing bass and Simon Misha's steady drum work forming a solid, surf-inspired chassis. "Out to Go" shows that the boys know their way around a wah-wah pedal, while "Loaded" rips off The Ramones nicely to end the album on a high note.
Out to Go is that rarest of albums, a back-loaded affair that saves the
best material for what would've been Side B in the age of vinyl. Listening to
Moco, it becomes clear that they're working hard to mask their music's lack of
originality by laying on the shtick 'til it's good and thick. It's the kind of
works well enough on a drinks-fueled night out, but whether you want these guys
joining you in your home after the show is an altogether different question.