REVIEW: HEARTBREAK, Moth Club, June 15th, 2018
June 15th, 2018. A date that will be etched indelibly on everyone’s hearts from now, alongside the simple heartfelt whisper; “they’re back”
I first encountered this freak phenomenon the first time they were back (they weren’t), sometime around 2007 when i’d been asked to bring my laptop to play a few cosmic bits and pieces at the amazing Washing Line club in Camden’s Constitution, in exchange for 50 quid and some beer. No proper decks but DEAL! I LOVE 50 quid and some beer! I turn up and play some slow motion cosmic synth warmups to the obligatory 3 men and a dog.
(STOP PRESS: AS I AM WRITING THIS, i get a message from my friend Neil, who was also present at the Moth Club. It reads “I wish it was last week again!!!”)
The band come on. I haven’t a clue who they are or anything, I’m only here for 50 quid and free beer. For the first few minutes me and my girlfriend are cringing at the pretentious display on offer, a Shoreditch Twat in a badly fitted suit, five years out of time Mighty Boosh fans, singer pulling all the soft rock moves, clenching his fist with fake emotion. Our cringe quickly turns to out and out derision and we are hooting with laughs. And then a few short minutes later we are stopped dead in our tracks as The Twat falls to his knees; “HAIR LAQUER! Everything i am i owe to you!”. The thing is…..he means it. GODZ IS NOT A PUT ON. The clenched fists, the histrionic emotion, pulling his hair out in desperation, he is begging, pleading, imploring, DARING us to listen, and listen good; “YOU – WILL – NEVER – SEE – ME – SITTING – DOWN”. He isn’t out of time after all it turns out – WE are, WE are The Twats, so conditioned to the ever present irony of the post pop human condition that sincerity is always questioned before the truth dawns, in front of a pop duo of momentous import, out of time because timeless, this could be Otis Redding at Monterey or any show by those other two all-time soul dripping synth duos, SUICIDE or Soft Cell.
And a few short months later, before i get chance to see them again, HEARTBREAK are gone. Sucked under by “musical differences” or more likely money, record label stupidity and LIES, or wondering why the hell they aren’t christmas number one EVERY FUCKING WEEK. Inside i’m hoping it was over a woman, her lipstick and lies turning brothers in soul into mortal enemies like a proper legend.
Nine years pass. Nine years lost to my own Vampire, and I’m still not that convinced by Italo disco – preferring the drum sounds of it’s predecessor – Italian electronic disco – to it’s grating manufactured Stock Aitken and Waterman sounding big snares and bad hair. But slowly the rest of the world is convinced that Italo is one of THE important musics, even recent bootlegs and re-issues of some of it’s rarer tracks on fantastic labels such as Dark Entries and Disco Segreta are starting to fetch silly money on Shitcogs. Despite this, and despite never having a second chance to see them live again I have been faithfully playing their one perfect album to anyone and everyone that would listen. Suddenly there’s a cry in the darkness. There is going to be a gig. Just a one-off, see what happens, but with a hint that this might be their equivalent of the eagerly anticipated Soft Cell finale later this year, Say Hello, Wave Goodbye.
I’m already crying on the way to the show. Before i left home I was listening to the essential Sun Ra chants compilation “The Space Age Is Here To Stay”, singing along with all my self, when i burst into tears, and find myself picking up the record sleeve and thanking Sonny Blount for all i’m worth. He came here to give us this music, on this good erf, in order that we might deepen our understanding of truth and beauty and be so consumed and so CONNECTED that we go into the world and use that connection to make the here and now a better place for all beings. Even after he had a stroke he insisted they keep wheelin’ him on because what he had to say was so vital for all of us. And again, on the train to the show Francesca Way asks me about Heartbreak and i’m forced to concede that these two guys are kind of the same deal, although how DARE they let their petty lipstick rearrangements come between a planet and their vision? Selfish, guys, you know it’s true, keeping it all to youselves, leave the rest of us in a plastic void where Art is there to hide the truth instead of reveal it.
Almost immeditely upon entering the Moth club my attitide towards “Italo” is starting to change within me. This is not just music with a shit drum sound. This is music BY the people, FOR the people. Cheap Drum Machines and Hair Lacquer. Here. Now. There is such a sense of camaraderie and connection in the air and this grows in me by the minute, deepened by DJs Piers Martin and Woody from Red Laser records, and a live show fron Italo Connection 2.0, Fred Ventura taking the mic in hand and telling it like it is, in much the same way a hotly anticipated performance by Heartbreak’s Sebastian Muravchik will do. Here we are in a working men’s club of all places and Fred Ventura seems to be equivalating DANCING with THE STRUGGLE.
Now i is finally starting to get it, just in time for Ali Renault and Sebastian Muravchik to take to the stage. Seb’s suit is still too tight. Is this just how they’re supposed to be worn? is Seb wearing a hand me down? Is he that broke and broken romantic dreamer? or is it some kind of metaphor for his passion for life bursting him at the seams? He’s also sporting a rather silly hat, but only because this opening NEW SONG (YES!) is about Saucy Jack The Ripper.
We’re in an asylum, and the lunatics have taken over. They must be strapping me into my thorazine again now because there-is-no-fucking-way-that-any-synthesizer-could-hold-me-that-good. A group hug featuring the welcoming claustrophobic arms of madamé strobelight and msr. le synthé. And what’s more the fact that this is new material unbuckles the trousers of Mr Expectation – THEY ARE BACK! Not Just for a little while, but F O R E V E R.
Let’s get this straight (from the start): HEARTBREAK ARE BACK! AND HOW! with LIES! LIES! It’s all i hear falling from your mouth – Campaign for this to be Christmas number one NOW! A snowflake covered pedestal and everything, even The Living Swastika Theresa May is up offa her knees and everyone is finally dancing in the truth. We don’t have to take it from on high if we’re of the Masochistic persuasion, just let those synthesisers CRUSH your soul, and remould it into ‘Robot’s Got The Feeling’ WOOOOOOH RIGHT ON!”
A wise man* once told me that the difference between rock and roll and soul music can be visualised thus: ROCK AND ROLL = Mick Jagger (or Roger The Fox Daltrey or horrible Verve man or whatever cunt), pointing at their cocaine flaccidified cocks and screaming “look at mehhhhh!! Look at meeeeehhhh!! ooh, why dontchya look at mehhhhh! oh yeah! Awlright!! Any underage girls or foxes in the house?” SOUL MUSIC = OTIS at Monterey. “Look at YOU”, he implores, “Look at YOU! So beautiful. Here we are. Together.” Heartbreak’s Sebastian Muravchik somehow manages to sympathetically synthesise the two with no tail touching in the very same way you might see Uncle Jarv or Uncle Nick, one more time with feeling. Sure, he struts and frets his hour upon the stage but every adoration is thrown right back and all the stars are splashed across the ceilling. And here we are. Together.
And then they play “We’re Back”! The debut single and hotly contested opener from their one perfect pop album (sorry Ali, A&R cunt was right)
(Heartbreak didn’t want the album sequenced like that, which is interesting as it takes on a completely different meaning when placed right in the middle. At the start makes it THE greatest step up fuck off into the limelight since “CLEOPATRA – COMIN’ AT YA!”, in the middle it’s more like a pair of lonely depressed middle aged men harking backwards at possibilities, and we’re back into rememberberry land. Either way it’s truth is undeniable) (and this is where it gets REALLY WEIRD, because the obvious show opener tonight would have been ‘We’re Back’ but sticking it in the middle where it would have been on the album does a different thing again, it becomes a pair of true artists wantonly defying expectations by not opening with it. Bastards!)
“Looking back, i can’t feel…where is my peace of mind?
Sounds like fun – dancing vibe
something is not quite right
is it good? is it bad? The way your song words sound
Should i cry? should i laugh?
Listen to your heart
So – you’ve heard it all before?
Well, We’re back, from the disco to the radio
you’ve not heard it all before – cause We’re back!
….warm it up and we finally find some peace of mind”
it’s as beautful a notion of pop music as anyone can mention, up there with ‘It’s Bigger Than Hip-Hop’ (yes, Kanye produced it! THE greatest rap record of time. I KNOW #metoo) True artistic vision can be sniffed in the wind as easily as the fastmoneymusic which pollutes our lives with it’s reminder to pay, and don’t dance too much, keep it middle class, everything used to be better in our day, focus on the new sofa and the soporific horror of the quote unquote real world. Meanwhile Heartbreak are the real deal. Dance your fucking arse off, fag burns on the sofa, put everything you got into The Church Of Saturday Night, and in doing so make it Monday night and Tuesday night and Wednesday night (etc), rise together into the rarified air only breathed by the gods into which our species must evolve or drown in our owwwwwwwwwn shit.
YOU WILL NEVER SEE ME SITTING DOWN