It’s difficult to know where to begin with Gravenhurst, I mean the obvious place is the beginning, but if I do that I am in danger of missing so much out. So, thumbing my nose at convention, I am going to start at the beginning and at the end, if that makes sense.

Here’s the beginning. Gravenhurst was the musical pseudonym of Nick Talbot. As well as being a singer, a brilliant songwriter, he was a multi instrumentalist and many of the sounds heard on his first couple of records were all made by him on his own. He was also a record producer and a journalist. The word genius is banded around a lot these days, especially by me, but Nick Talbot genuinely was a genius, and a thoroughly lovely chap to boot.

You’ll note the ‘was’ in the last paragraph, because here’s the end. In early December 2014, Nick Talbot died, he was 37.* The cause of his death has never been disclosed, and that is pretty much all I am going to say about it. I knew Nick, well a bit anyway, I met him a few times, let’s go with that. Friends of mine were very close to him, and I know that his warmth, wit and talent are greatly missed.

*JC adds…..the anniversary of his death is today, hence my decision to interrupt the Indietracks season

I loved the fact that Gravenhurst had signed to Warp Records, a label normally associated with dance music that contorts and twists your mind beyond comprehension. Gravenhurst’s music was the anti-Warp if you like. All acoustic guitar, the organ, ambient soundscapes and an angelic voice that sends shivers running up to your shoulders every time you hear it. It was the perfect home for Gravenhurst, with a label that were prepared to let him do what he wanted, which was to make beautiful music that occasionally veered into the dark and mysterious forces of nature that we all try and fail to understand.

In total Gravenhurst released five studio albums and a couple of mini albums, there was also a posthumous six album box set. The first few releases are almost entirely acoustic and quite folky. At the times the music veers towards shoegaze but remains heavily influenced by the likes of Simon and Garfunkel and Nick Drake. The later releases take a twist towards psychedelic rock, and Talbot cites the work of bands like Flying Saucer Attack as a major influence on him.

This imaginary compilation doesn’t do his work justice, it is just a collection of my personal favourites of his songs.

Side One

Peacock (2012, Taken from ‘The Ghost in Daylight’)

I’ve started this compilation with an instrumental, I’ve done it deliberately so to delay the impact hearing Nick’s voice for the first time will have. ‘Peacock’ is taken from the band’s last album, by which point Gravenhurst were a three-piece and had added the word ‘Ensemble’ to their name. Regardless, ‘The Peacock’ is a scene setting kind of track, an atmospheric affair, featuring a barely strummed guitar, and the occasional wave of ambience which washes over the track, barely noticed.

Bluebeard (2004, Taken from ‘Flashlight Seasons’)

‘Bluebeard’ starts with a mournful sounding guitar and some more of those elegant sounding ambient waves, and it’s nearly thirty seconds before you get to experience Nick’s voice for the first time. If you are anything like me, that moment resulted in your arms having goosebumps. ‘Bluebeard’ is one of the more upbeat tracks on ‘Flashlight Seasons’ but it’s an incredibly simple yet wonderful song about adversity and overcoming demons.

The Collector (2007, Taken from ‘The Western Lands’ )

‘The Collector’ is taken from the bands fourth album ‘The Western Lands’ by this time Nick had turned Gravenhurst into a five piece, and they had started to explore a more psychedelic sound. The track starts off in a style more accustomed to the bands earlier work, but around halfway through the drums kick in and the guitars get plugged in before descending into a wall of feedback.

Black Holes In the Sand (2004, Taken from ‘Black Holes In the Sand Ep’)

In the gap between the release of ‘Flashlight Seasons’ and the follow-up album, ‘Fires In Distant Buildings’, there was an EP of tracks that showed a band in transition. Some guitars were plugged in, organs fire up unexpectedly and all of it physically competing with the acoustic guitars and Nick’s vocals which remain beautifully calm amidst the chaos unfolding around it. The result is a very distinct indie sound that took the band’s music to a place somewhere in the middle of ‘Race for the Prize’ era Flaming Lips and ‘Hail to the Thief’ era Radiohead. It sounded wonderful, and the next album promised great things.

The Diver (2004, Taken from ‘Flashlight Seasons’)

‘The Diver’ is probably Nick Talbot’s finest hour (although this writer tips its hat to the song that opens Side Two). It’s raw, emotional and recorded in such a way that the vocal talents of Nick can be heard to their full effect. The music behind it is stripped back, pretty much just Nick’s guitar, a simple riff that is carried throughout the song and a rumbling old bass line. It’s the vocal that make this such a stunning piece of music. A delicate, fragile sounding falsetto that whispers angelically and menacing at the same time. It’s a mesmerising piece of work.

Side Two

Nicole (2006, Taken from ‘Fires in Distant Buildings’)

‘Nicole’ is probably the band’s most recognisable track, in that it features heavily in a Shane Meadows film and grabbed the band some largely unwanted attention from the mainstream media. It’s as close to a pop song as the band ever got, but even ‘Nicole’ is some distance from being a pop song. It has an almost country edge to it, which you can hear as Nick sings away about doomed relationships. It’s one of the finest things he ever wrote.

Damage II (2004, Taken from ‘Flashlight Seasons’)

‘Damage II’ is desperately short, clocking in at just under two minutes. It’s another Nick and guitar track that looks at guilt, rejection and the pain caused by all that. The emotion can be heard in Nick’s voice which sounds close to cracking at one point. At around two minutes the song fades out and is replaced by the sounds of running water, rain, probably, which washes over the speakers for about 40 seconds.

Diane (2004, Taken from ‘Black Holes In the Sand’)

Over at my blog, I’m going to be doing a rundown of essential cover versions next year. If you are a regular reader, I’d get used to hearing about this track if I were you because it’s one of the greatest cover versions ever recorded. Never has a song about the rape and murder of a teenage girl sounded so essential. It’s really hard to believe that a line such as “We could cruise down Roberts Street all night long, but I think I’ll just rape you and kill you instead” could be sung so perfectly that it almost sounds acceptable. The way that the “Its all over now, with my knife” line is delivered as the song reaches into climax is truly remarkable.

Trust (2007, Taken from ‘The Western Lands’)

I think that Gravenhurst were an entirely different band when they expanded their sound. On ‘Trust’ which was the lead single from the band’s fourth album (one that they had to re-record due to some swearing) they sound almost unrecognisable from the songs that came a year or two earlier. The guitars are almost surf like, the vocals are more polished and almost gruff sounding (although unmistakably still Nick).

Animals (2006, Taken from ‘Fires in Distant Buildings’)

I’ll end with a track from ‘Fires In Distant Buildings’ which hints at what the future held for Nick. You get a quiet guitar, the odd cymbal crash and a subtle sounding organ and this almost devastating opening line “They descend upon the city like flies/ Spring their eggs into a dead dog’s eyes/ It’s England on a Saturday night.”.

Thanks for reading, sorry I’ve gone on a bit.




A Ripped and Wrinkled Life :

A Momus ICA

This ICA has been a very, very long time in the making. Back in 2017 when I was a regular but silent visitor to TVV, JC wrote about Momus’ 1988 album Tender Pervert and Jonny The Friendly Lawyer commented that “Maybe somebody with the goods can serve up an ICA so we can see what he’s all about?” I agreed wholeheartedly, but did nothing.

In 2020, the first full year of the COVID-19 pandemic and the early months of the UK lockdown, Momus popped up again in #213 of JC’s epic Saturday’s Scottish Song series. That’s also the go-to for an invaluable Momus bio.

A few months later, a further Momus post featured 1989’s should-have-been-a-hit single, The Hairstyle Of The Devil. I’d finally found a voice by then and had contributed my first ICA a few months previously. The post prompted a similar comment from TVV reader Yours Truly (not to be confused with yours truly, i.e. me), “I wish someone came up with a Momus ICA?” Again, I agreed wholeheartedly, but did nothing.

Part of the challenge is that I had a couple of Momus albums from his ‘classic’ period on Creation Records in the late 1980s/early 1990s, having started with the singles compilation, Monsters Of Love. I also had the Forbidden Software Timemachine double CD, compiling the “Best Of The Creation Years”. Over a hundred songs all in all, so where to begin?

It’s an understatement to say that Momus is prolific, and he’s been bringing out roughly an album each year (with the occasional break) since 1986. So a career-spanning ICA was also out of the question, not least because I haven’t been able to keep up with (or afford) that level of output.

At the tail end of 2021, I thought I’d cracked it. “Aha”, I said to myself (yes, my inner monologue had become an outer dialogue during lockdown), “I’ll just focus on Momus’ last three albums!” Three or four songs per album, ten to twelve songs in total. Bosh! ICA done.

Of course, it was never going to be that easy, not least because the sum total of the three albums is forty-seven songs. And I liked all of the songs on all of the albums. Curses!

I played around and played around with various songs and sequences, and I just couldn’t settle on a final running order. My procrastinating rolled into early 2022 and inevitably came at a cost: A new Momus album! Another eighteen songs! All of them good! Aaaaaaargh!

I’ve spent the last six months on and off, starting again with an ICA spanning the four albums, managing to whittle sixty-five songs down to twenty, nearly but not quite being able to decide on the final ICA track listing.

Yesterday (26th October)*, Momus announced a new album, his 4,017th by my reckoning. Issyvoo is out on 2nd December 2022, his second album this year. I told you he was prolific. The prospect of having to start all over again and expand the scope to include five albums was all the kick up the arse that I needed to finish this ICA.

*Note from JC : Khayem sent all this over back on 27 October, but it went missing in cyberspace!

I am under no illusion that this will be a contender for the next ICA World Cup final, but I think it provides a snapshot of how much – and how little – has changed in Momus’ world since those hazy days with Creation. And where else would you find references, often in the same song, to Eurydice, coronavirus, Sally Bowles, Lidl urinals, Orpheus, Fire Island, Romy Schneider, “goths in a holocaust”, Balthazar, Bob Dylan and Frankie Howard?!

I’ve cheated a little as this ICA has stretched to twelve songs, three per album, rather than the customary ten. It’s all wrapped up in just over twenty minutes per side, so I’ll hopefully get away with it.

In keeping with my own blog, I’ve also presented the ICA as a single, 40-minute Dubhed Selection for your listening pleasure.

Side One

1) Influencer Village (Smudger, 2022)

Watch me now one million views / Smashing all the mirrors / Click ‘like’, thumbs up and subscribe / Influencer Village

2) Zooming (Athenian, 2021)

That’s not painting, that’s body-shaming!

3) People Are Turning To Gold (Video Version ft. Janice Long) (Akkordian, 2019)

People who love money they make me sick / Praying to the god of arithmetic

4) I Got It From Agnes (Vivid, 2020)

It doesn’t matter who / It might have been at the pub / Or at the club, or in the loo

5) What The Kite Thinks (Akkordian, 2019)

Above the shaking mirror / As the world sinks

6) Horrorworld (Athenian, 2021)

Once we dreamed a smooth and a simple life / What turned up? / A ripped and a wrinkled life

Side Two

1) Friendly World (Smudger, 2022)

This world doesn’t owe you anything / No one stops you from leaving

2) Self-Isolation (Vivid, 2020)

Happy the land that doesn’t need heroes in the first place

3) Bus Inspector Bill (Athenian, 2021)

And the day that Charlie passed away Lil was there to hear him say

“I’ve been unfaithful to you in every known position, Lili dear”

She said “Charlie darling never mind, I knew it all the time

That’s why I put 9000 milligrammes of arsenic trioxide in your beer”

4) Dylanology (Akkordian, 2019)

And everybody’s laughing at the trial of Josef K / The judge keeps quoting Wilde but I’ve got better things to say

5) Friends (Smudger, 2022)

I used to respect you, yes I did / Even though you’re an obvious junkie

6) Fever Dream (Vivid, 2020)

I’m in the underworld but I’m also in my kitchen / I’m in the afterlife, but also television

Bonus) A Ripped and Wrinkled Life : The Dubhead Mix (40:42)



It was back in May, as part of the Scottish Songs series, that I profiled Momus while admitting I had just the one album in the collection.

My recent forays into the world of Discogs enable me to pick up the 7″ release of The Hairstyle of The Devil a single from 1989 that was released on Creation Records. The 7″ came in a plain black sleeve, and retailed at the set price of 99p. The image at the top of this post is the sleeve of the 12″.

mp3: Momus – Hairstyle of The Devil

There’s a real sense of the Pet Shop Boys at play in the music but I thought that re-producing the lyrics would give the uninitiated an idea of what Momus is all about….

She was seeing two at exactly the same time
She never mentioned you when she was round at mine
But when you were round at hers you always made a scene
‘Cause you only had ears for descriptions of the stranger she was seeing

And what she saw in me was only what attracts
The many girls I see behind their lovers’ backs
But what she saw in you, I could never work it out
There was just one thing she found it turned you on to talk about

The inexplicable charisma of the rival
You said “Describe for me the hairstyle of the devil
Is he passionate? (Don’t answer!)
Is he detached? (Don’t answer that!)
Does he please you in the sack? (Shut up, don’t answer back!)
Just tell him I’m dying to meet him”

She called me up, she said she’d had enough
Of all the paranoia you mixed up with your love
We spent the night together, she woke me up at dawn
And called an all-night taxi
And when you came I was gone

You found my comb behind her chest of drawers
She said she’d slept alone but the bed was full of hairs
And when you matched them up, beyond a shadow of a doubt
The hairs belonged the Beelzebub
And you began to puzzle out

The inexplicable charisma of the rival
You said “Describe for me the hairstyle of the devil
Does he make you laugh? (Don’t answer!)
Does he earn a lot? (Don’t answer that!)
Does he dress you up in black? (Shut up, don’t answer back!)
Just tell him I’m dying to meet him”

The inexplicable charisma of the rival
With the luck and the hairstyle of the devil

And so you gaze at the people all about
In every stranger’s face you try to make me out
And when you meet me finally your horns will lock with mine
For the beast rules with rivalry
As the clock rules with time

For the beast rules with rivalry
As the clock rules with time

For the beast rules with rivalry
As the clock rules with time

Pleased to meet you, hope you’ve guessed my name
Pleased to meet you, hope you’ve guessed my name
Pleased to meet you, hope you’ve guessed my name

Unlike Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine, who ran into all sorts of problems when After The Watershed mimicked a line from Ruby Tuesday, the lawyers for the Rolling Stones didn’t come near Momus in 1989.  The fact that the single sold in minuscule numbers is just, I’m sure, one of those coincidences that happen……

Here’s yer b-side, which judging by the crackling and popping was played more than the a-side by its original owner:-

mp3: Momus – Amongst Women Only




One of the most written-about musicians ever to emerge from Scotland.  It is fair to say that he is a niche or even an acquired taste.  A full and detailed bio that has been lifted from all music. He’s been a very busy boy and much of his story would make for a fantastic film.

Named after the Greek god of mockery, Momus is the alias of Nick Currie, an erudite and esoteric Scottish-born singer, songwriter, author, and provocateur whose genre-defying music careens from acoustic ballads and electro-pop to easy listening and post-punk and back again. Known for his rich baritone and fascination with themes of psychosexuality and cultural and political crises, Momus emerged in the early ’80s as the leader of the avant-garde band the Happy Family. He joined the Creation label in 1987 and released his second solo LP, The Poison Boyfriend. Momus moved to Cherry Red Records in the mid-’90s and found considerable success in Japan, where he eventually relocated. Since his 1986 debut, the biblical-themed Circus Maximus, he has averaged an album a year, with highlights arriving via 1998’s analog Baroque Little Red Songbook, 2005’s musique concrète-inspired Otto Spooky, and 2016’s post-Brexit-minded Scobberlotchers.

Born in 1960, Currie spent time living in Greece and Canada before returning to Scotland to attend university. In 1981, he dropped out of school to form the Happy Family, a band additionally comprising three prior members of Josef K. After signing to the 4AD label, the group recorded only one LP, 1982’s The Man on Your Street, before disbanding.

After returning to (and graduating from) university, Currie moved to London in 1984. He cut a deal with el Records and released Circus Maximus in 1986, the first offering issued under the Momus name (chosen in honor of a Greek god banished from Mount Olympus for daring to criticize the wisdom of Zeus). A move to Alan McGee’s Creation label preceded the release of 1987’s melancholy The Poison Boyfriend, followed by 1988’s homoerotic Tender Pervert. Even more frankly sexual was the next year’s Don’t Stop the Night, a collection exploring taboo topics including incest and necrophilia. With 1991’s Hippopotamomus — dedicated to the late Serge Gainsbourg — Momus came under attack; the album, dubbed “a record about sex for children,” drew fire from feminists as well as a lawsuit from Michelin U.K., which objected to a lyrical reference to their mascot, the Michelin Man. (The suit was subsequently settled out of court, and all remaining copies of the album were destroyed.)

Undeterred, Momus returned in 1992 with a pair of new records, The Ultraconformist and the ambient-styled Voyager, inspired by the work of Yukio Mishima. After writing the 1993 album Shyness for Japanese performer nOrikO (who adopted her stage name Poison Girlfriend in tribute to Momus) and releasing Timelord (his final work for Creation), Currie made tabloid headlines for his 1994 marriage to 17-year-old Shazna Nessa, the daughter of a Bangladesh-born restauranteur. Currie and Nessa first met when she was just 14; after her parents learned of the relationship, she was sent back to Bangladesh to enter into an arranged marriage, but escaped to return to London to marry Currie, forcing the couple to go underground for fear that Nessa’s family would kidnap her.

Currie, living in exile in Paris, subsequently signed to the Cherry Red label and resurfaced in 1995 with The Philosophy of Momus, an eclectic set veering from reggae to blues to techno that featured “The Sadness of Things,” an indie hit recorded with Ken Morioka of the Japanese pop band Soft Ballet.

Slender Sherbet, a collection of re-recordings of material from the Tender Pervert era, followed later in the year as Momus suddenly found success in Japan writing and producing for pop songstress Kahimi Karie, with whom he notched a string of five consecutive Top Five hits.

20 Vodka Jellies, a collection of demos performed by Momus and intended for Karie, appeared in 1996, and was the first of his records issued in the U.S. In addition to writing and producing material for Nessa’s band Milky and the magazine Blender, Currie rounded out the year by writing, producing, and programming the collection This Must Stop. He issued Ping Pong in 1997, returning a year later with dynamic and inventive The Little Red Songbook. Released in 1999, Stars Forever was arguably Momus’ most controversial and provocative artistic statement yet — mounted to help defray massive legal costs facing Currie’s U.S. label Le Grand Magistery, each of its songs was commissioned for $1,000 apiece by various patrons, from Japanese pop mastermind Cornelius to the staff at New York City publicity firm Girlie Action, and written to the patrons’ specifications. Folktronic followed in early 2001, and two years later, Momus debuted on his own American Patchwork label with Oskar Tennis Champion.

Analog put out the two-disc Forbidden Software Timemachine: Best of the Creation Years, 1987-1993 compilation in 2003, followed by the chanson-forward Otto Spooky and Ocky Milk in 2005 and 2006. In 2008, Currie teamed up with Glaswegian producer Joe Howe for the album JOEMUS, released on the Analog Baroque imprint, with the YouTube-inspired album Hypnoprism arriving in 2010. Thunderclown, a collaboration with John Henriksson, arrived in 2011, followed by the British horror film-inspired Bibliotek in 2012. The year 2013 saw the release of Bambi, as well as the first installment of MOMUSMCCLYMONT, a collaboration with ex-Orange Juice member David McClymont. MOMUSMCCLYMONT II appeared in 2014, followed in 2015 by the triple-LP Turpsycore and Japanese folk-inspired Glyptothek.

Arriving in 2016, Scobberlotchers saw Momus taking on Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, while 2017’s Pillycock was influenced, in part, by Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini‘s Trilogy of Life films (Arabian Nights, The Decameron, The Canterbury Tales). He returned in 2018 with Pantaloon, a topical cabaret LP that coincided with his move to Berlin. The following year, Momus purchased an accordion in a junk shop and was inspired to compose an album featuring the instrument; titled Akkordion (mixing the German and English spellings), the LP was issued by Creation Records in October 2019.

Despite such a prolific output, I’ve only one Momus album in the collection – Tender Pervert which I picked up on vinyl from a charity shop for next to nothing.  One of its tracks was also included on a Creation compilation, Doing It For The Kids, released in 1988.  It’s fair to say that it’s one of his more accessible offerings – and even then, you’d be hard pushed to ever hear it on radio.

mp3: Momus – A Complete History of Sexual Jealousy (Parts 17 to 24)



La Chanson de Jacky is one of Jacques Brel’s best known compositions, certainly here in the UK, thanks to the fact it has twice been taken into the singles charts in 1967 and 1991, both as cover versions:-

mp3 : Scott Walker – Jackie
mp3 : Marc Almond – Jacky

Both versions are an absolute hoot, both have much to offer in terms of enjoyment and style and both are well worth a few minutes of your time for a listen. If pushed, I’d say I preferred Marc Almond’s version for the bravado shown by him and the production/arrangement/mixing cohorts of Trevor Horn, Anne Dudley and Youth in throwing absolutely everything at it to turn it into a genuine camp classic which has stood the test of time.

Having said that, it is worth noting how Scott Walker’s version, which of course I’m way too young to recall, was banned by the BBC because of words like ‘queers’, ‘virgins’ and ‘opium’, and yet such was his popularity at the time that it sold enough copies to reach #22 despite next to no airplay.

A wee snippet of trivia for you.

The b-side of Scott’s single was one of his own – the writing credit is given to Scott Engel which was the name he was born with – and is a wonderfully OTT effort complete with the singer bringing in the conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra to give him the sound he was looking for:-

mp3 : Scott Walker – The Plague

What many perhaps hadn’t noticed when Marc took Jacky to #17 is that five years earlier he had included this on his covers EP, A Woman’s Story:-

mp3 : Marc Almond – The Plague

Oh and I also discovered while doing my research that Jacques Brel had also, in 1986, been given the cover treatment by the eccentric and occasionally brilliant Nick Currie, who records as Momus, and in doing so offered his own twisted and very personal and incredibly clever take on things :-

mp3 : Momus – Nicky

Cute… a stupid ass way



I’m wondering if some of the words used in today’s posting will attract folk directed here on the basis of one word typed into a search engine.

The LP cover up above is that of a 1988 LP called Tender Pervert. The act who recorded it is Momus, a Scotsman whose real name is Nick Currie.

He calls himself Momus after the Greek god of mockery. As this wiki entry indicates, he’s been around for a while recording hyper-literate, quirky songs that have been known to blend accessible dance-pop with such heavy lyrical themes as paedophilia, necrophilia and adultery. (That’s just about a fullhouse for pervy bingo….maybe one more to come(ahem))

Actually, the stuff isn’t all that bad. I have in my possesion a copy of Tender Pervert and its by no means the worst purchase I’ve ever made. I must actually get round to giving it a proper review and posting in here some day.

Anyway, the reason I bought it was down to the fact is was cheap in a sale, and I already knew and loved one track from it, thanks to it appearing on a Creation Records compilation entitled Doing It For The Kids (this was when Creation Records was very much a vanity project for Alan McGhee and friends, way before it began to make serious money).  As referenced last year on this very blog.

mp3 : Momus – A Complete History of Sexual Jealousy (Parts 17-24)

I’m surprised that the boys and girls from New Order didn’t sue in respect of the tune….

If my stats highlight any unusual paths into TVV over the next few days, I may well draw them to your attention.