Momus The Philosophy of Momus Cherry Red CD BRED 119

The laconic anthropologist returns, with more hugely intelligent, hugely entertaining musings on contemporary mores. Whether speculating upon the sadness of things, analysing Lee Perry's paranoia as a self-fulfilling prophecy, or simply advocating androgyny, Nick "Momus" Currie's tone is urbane, witty and always perfectly measured: in these songs, he manages the difficult trick of applying a veneer of tinder-dry irony without betraying the essential sincerity of his enquiries.

Using arrangements custom-built to fit the individual songs, from the hollow, tick-tock synth-pop of "Quark and Charm, the Robot Twins" to the bland envelopment of "The Loneliness of Lift Music", Currie scans his surroundings with the dispassionate delicacy of a dilettante. "It's Important To Be Trendy" is about as blunt as he gets, a deadpan enumeration of the more risible of trends, from 8-track players and analogue synths to cool (but useless) bands and body piercing, all occasioning exactly the same degree of futile fascination.

It's exactly the kind of thing The Pet Shop Boys are routinely praised for, but Momus goes beyond their basic observational mode to a more speculative zone of commentary, studded with pithy apothegms like "Those who say no one is better than anyone think that they're better for saying it." Perfectly true, of course, but nobody likes a smart-arse.