When Momus started writing music, chiefly using acoustic guitar, he wanted to find the chord that would melt people’s hearts. Now on Creation records, this ambition slowly changed, the music would move away from acoustic sounds to electronic. But not just yet. A final EP in the acoustic style was released in October 1986, with three tracks, named for an expressionist play “Murderer, the Hope of Women” by Oskar Kokoschka . These tracks were also included as the opening three tracks of the second album, “The Poison Boyfriend” when released on CD.

Murderers, the Hope of Women: A song which outlines the theory of male/female marriage as a prison, and slow murder, for women. Momus is the killer who marries “Sweet Fanny Adams”, a reference to a 19th century murder. He then smothers her with “domestic bliss”. He is extremely scathing about the tedium of marriage:
“This is where your misery starts
This is where your mystery stops
We’ll rent a television
To replace Pandora’s Box”.
Finally his wife, from boredom, frustration and a lack of attention, takes her own life:
“Underneath the suntan
from the sun lamp that we bought
Your face is paler than
the pale face of a corpse
And from the seventh floor of our bungalow
You flung yourself down to where they stood below
those proper little madams”.
It could almost be a feminist riposte to “Paper Wraps Rock”, it’s a beautiful sounding song, again contrasting imagery against sound, and even features a bit of an electric guitar solo.

Eleven Executioners: a love song to German Cabaret, in the required style which we’ve heard various times before. The various executioners in the Cabaret bar and their targets are described and they end up fighting each other violently. I have no doubt that each executioner represents something or someone, but as is often the case I have no idea what. There’s a glimpse of self awareness:
“And now lights will be trained on the bar
And a puppet will sing a morality
While an idiot strums a guitar”.
A depressing lapdance is described, which Momus is watching along with the executioners. It ends with a call and answer of “rattle tum a gypsum”* alternated with what are apparently calls from a Scottish children’s ball game.

It’s at times like this that it’s easy to feel stupid listening to these songs, as you feel that you need a dictionary, German-English dictionary, Brewer’s Book of Phrase and Fable and probably a copy of The Golden Bough lying next to you to make any headway in understanding what’s going on. Still there’s some more strangulated electric guitar going on here, which is interesting.

What Will Death be Like? : A deliberately repetitive list of things that death will emphatically NOT be like, with the actual question answered by just cutting the song off abruptly. Much better than that description sounds though, the song focuses our minds on the act of dying and the fears that we have of that process. It’s another very reference laden song, if you understand everything in here you must be very erudite indeed. It’s a very beautiful song as well, which builds carefully towards the climax where Momus just throws you into the pit. Another candidate for my top ten Momus songs.

So ends the last Momus work consciously produced in the mode of folk singer/guitar singer-songwriter. The next album would take in a more eclectic set of styles, with a more luscious, fuller sound and atmosphere than was hitherto possible.

*Which is of course a reference to an Appalachian folk song of the early 20th Century. Keep up!

One thought on “Proper Little Madams… #6 Murderers, the Hope of Women

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s