They began as a fictional band from a fictional town featured on the Eccentronic Research Council’s 2015 concept album Johnny Rocket, Narcissist And Music Machine… I’m Your Biggest Fan. Now, The Moonlandingz have lurched, sticky and bleeding, into the real world and are releasing the first great album of 2017.
Interplanetary Class Classics, released on Transgressive Records, is a feast of swirling juddering synths, wailing guitars, motorik stomp and extraordinary songwriting. The Moonlandingz have proven themselves to be one of the best live bands in the UK (“Magnificent, cosmic and batshit!” said The Quietus. “Feral antics and louche anarchy!” said The Guardian) and now they’ve produced an album of proper weird catchy glorious filthy pop.
The Moonlandingz is Eccentronic Research Council’s Adrian Flanagan and Dean Honer in cahoots with Fat White Family’s Lias Saoudi (aka frontman Johnny Rocket) and Saul Adamczewski. They recorded the album with Sean Lennon at his studio in upstate New York. Also on the record: Randy Jones the Cowboy from The Village People, Rebecca Taylor from Slow Club, drummer Ross Orton, bassist Mairead O’Connor, Phil Oakey and YOKO fucking ONO, who sings and yowls on epic closer This Cities Undone.
Lead single Black Hanz gives a taster of the pomp, the camp, the sci-fi spookiness and the beautiful, dreamy hopelessness contained in this album. Elsewhere there is throbbing rage, jerking disco, swoonsome idiocy and giddy heights; you might think of the moron-savantism of Devo and The Monks, you might think of Nick Cave’s strange crooning, you might think of The Eagles doing the music from Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, you might think of Daphne Oram and the music on a fairground ride, you might dig deep down into our new reality.
Says Adrian; “It's a celebration of the outsider, the depressed, the sexually inept, the disenfranchised, the politically unengaged or undecided, the bullied, the lonely, those people at point break. And we really do seem to be reaching those very people who are looking for that voice in the dark, for that wonky discotheque that will relight the fire in their soul.
Talking about making the album Adrian Flanagan added; “Dean and I come up with a large proportion of the music, then Lias and I work on vocals. We’d either write together or we’d dig around in Lias’s sports bag full of ideas for lyrics and then build on that. A couple of songs he had full verses already written, or we'd come up with a song concept and turn it into a narrative. Lias moved up to Sheffield for the summer last year to work with us and got into quite a disciplined work ethic, yer’ know in the studio everyday for 11am, then in the pub by 5pm till 11pm (laughs). Once we got a bunch of songs down we'd get Saul up for a day or two here and there to lay down some bits of guitar, some Peckham damage. We then took it to Sean's studio in upstate NYC where we amped everything up and added live drums with Ross Orton and bass from Mairead O'Connor, and all kinds of cool instruments. It was great to have the freedom to try stuff without some engineer watching the clock.”
“Having Yoko Ono on our closing track was for me, the real honour. She's a little ball of awesomeness, the original outsider, activist, the queen of the avant-garde. There's just no one like her and the vocal she laid down for us was totally incredible. She’s 82 years young and with more fire and spirit in her little finger than someone a third her age. I'm really proud of that song,” said Adrian about her guest appearance on the album. “And Phil Oakey from the Human League sings as part of the group chorus with Lias & Rebecca & I – it’s like five generations of art school legends on one track.”
“I loved having all my favourite people and friends in the middle of nowhere, in upstate New York, working in a giant barn, having a fucking heartfelt giggle, making the best album for these times,” said Flanagan. “And I’m proud that I managed to pull together such a disparate, lunatic bunch of total one-offs and make a really ace album with them, and that no one died! The way the world is going I do have recurring nightmares that the album won't even see the light of day. Is it selfish to hope the world exists until at least April 2017?
And finally, a missive from Johnny Rocket (Lias Saoudi), who is on his holidays:
“It is with a great lack of humility that I would like to announce the release of the album of the epoch, a derogatory slap in the face of good taste and decency, an album synthesised out of pure irresponsibility and sheer self-adoration. Consider this album two great monoliths, one of misanthropy the other self-love, it is unyielding in its perfect duality. There shall be no such thing as pop music henceforth, for in the wake of this cultural Big Bang all other efforts in the medium will appear to be what they always truly have been: puddles of tepid consciousness.”
Koh Rong Samloem, Cambodia
November 21st, 2016
SUNDAY 02 APRIL
The Grove, Bristol BS1 4RB
Advance tickets available from: