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Varied Moodswings album provides musing to fuel any emotion

Moodfood
Moodswings.
Arista Records.

By Douglas D. Keller
Photography Editor

There are seven wonders of the world. You are about to witness the eighth." So begins the introductory track "Throw Off the Shackles" from Moodswings's debut album Moodfood. This album is definitely something different, a combination of rap, techno, new age, and industrial. The first time I listened to the album I felt that Moodswings had answered the question of what would happen if Nine Inch Nails made a new age album.

The album's press kit aptly describes Moodfood as "aural medication for tired minds." The album is remarkable for the stylistic range of its tracks, which vary from George Winstonesque piano on "Hairy Piano" to rap/house on "Problem Solved." No matter what mood you might be in, there will be a song on this album which will heighten your happiness or alleviate your sorrow. What is similarly remarkable is that the rest of the album will sort of fade into the background, only to be noticed again when the track fits your mood.

Moodfood was conceived and written as a single piece of music incorporating many thematically linked tracks or moods. Moodswings is able to achieve this effect by blending the transitions between tracks and by having many movements within each track. These movements will pick up a riff used in an earlier track or will give hints of riffs to come.

Moodswings is the collaboration of musicians J.F.T. Hood and Grant Showbiz. Grant Showbiz was responsible for producing many albums for The Fall and Billy Bragg and has also worked as soundman and sometime producer for The Smiths. J.F.T. Hood was the drummer for The Pretenders and has also played drums on some of the last Smiths gigs. Joining Hood and Showbiz are Jeff Beck and Johnny Marr on "Skinthieves," Linda Muriel supplying vocals on "Rainsong," and Chrissie Hynde singing on the first single from the album, "Spiritual High (State of Independence) Part II." An interesting addition to the music of the album is the mixing of Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech "I Have a Dream" with drum machine, piano, effect boxes, and a synthesized chorus on "Spiritual High (Part III)."

Moodfood alleviates, combats, and sometimes evokes our "moodswings." This is essentially what the album is all about and what Moodswings feel that music should be all about. As they say, "The sections in the record stores shouldn't be dance or country or whatever - they should be cheer you up, relax you down, music for a picnic, music for a funeral, etc."