Taking its name from an IKEA marketing slogan, ‘The Most Important Place In The World’ is Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat’s much anticipated follow up to their award-winning debut album ‘Everything’s Getting Older’. Wells and Moffat are reunited with in house producer for Chemikal, Paul Savage (Mogwai, Franz Ferdinand, King Creosote).
LP £25.49 CHEM220
180g vinyl LP + exclusive one-sided 4 track mini album on Chemikal Underground. Includes booklet + hymn sheet.
CD £9.99 CHEM220CD
CD on Chemikal Underground.
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- The Most Important Place In The World by Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat
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More lounge music that makes you feel like an absolute piece of shit, please. This is only the second collaboration between contemporary pianist (and all-round awesomely accomplished instrumentalist) Bill Wells and his dour, uncompromising poet pal Aidan Moffat (previously of scratchy post-rock crew Arab Strap), but it feels like a century in waiting: ‘Everything’s Getting Older’ was a startling debut that matched beauty with grit, the musical equivalent of walking through the lights of a pretty city but only looking at the pavement. It’s hard to hear these kind of decrepit tales anywhere anywhere else, and ‘The Most Important Place In The World’ proves the duo’s juxtaposing approaches to be more than a one-time deal.
“On The Motorway” opens proceedings with familiar territory: a twinkling minor-key piano flourish and the soft but crushingly heavy vocals of Moffat, describing signposts and cars as if they were people. A metronome knocks back and forth between the words and the piano, as if holding them back, trying to stop them from fighting. Moffat moves from speech to song, cooing as if in a pantomime, before a firm electro-pop beat worms its way in. Those final admonishments are a bit much, but the premise is, as ever, compelling: a misanthropic Moffat in thrall of the audacity of everything around him. That continues on “The Tangle of Us”, in which he sings muffled words into a distant microphone about the city and its grim citizens -- the terse, destructive jazz echoes him in the backdrop.
Moffat remains a strikingly good lyricist, mostly because he’s so good at dismissing and rewriting cliches -- a line like “and they say the night has a thousand eyes / but the city hides a million secrets” shows his awareness that he’s contributing to dramatic, urgent music, but that it doesn’t have to fall into the same cliches. Its best when he’s singing hurried treatises over Wells compositions -- when he retreats to ballads and slow jams, such as the hushed waltz of “Any Other Mirror”, some of the magic, the glorious disdain, is lost. It’s still so good to hear these two voices play together -- Wells and Moffat, at this point, deserve a band name. This is no hobbyhorse.
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