If The Moonlandingz still fancy themselves a “fictional band,” this is one hell of an imaginary debut album. Released just today from the UK supergroup (comprised of Lias and Saul from Fat White Family + Adrian and Dean from the Eccentronic Research Council), Interplanetary Class Classics is the perfect gateway drug into a world of subversive, shameless, spread-eagle psych rock that is very much their own. As they urged in their own announcement this morning, it’s an album “to twirl naked but for a rah-rah skirt and a 2nd world war gas mask around your bedroom to.” Weekend plans: locked.
The new LP immediately clobbers us with the barbaric beat of “Vessels,” an irresistible opener oozing with the underground, late-night grime that permeates The Moonlandingz’ unmistakable sound. Then we’re riding right into “Sweet Saturn Mine,” Lias’ sexually-charged outcry of “I feel alright! I feel alright!,” whose underlying progressions border on the grotesque. If they somehow haven’t grabbed you by then, the next song, “Black Hanz,” is the great equalizer; a velvety, indulgent trip with a chorus we can all relate to (“Everyday is like a kick in the cunntttt”) and an upturned, surf’s-up guitar riff that sticks like gum. Incidentally, when we covered the Moonlandingz’ first U.S. show back in 2015, this song, still unreleased and unidentifiable, became a bit of a white whale – so it’s extra satisfying to put a name to it and hear the album cut.
Interplanetary Class Classics – which was mixed by Dave Fridmann and co-produced by the group’s longtime collaborator and mentor, Sean Lennon – is also jammed with some unexpected guest appearances, including Yoko Ono & Friends on closing song “This Cities Undone,” Rebecca Taylor from Slow Club on “The Strangle of Anna,” and even Randy Jones (the cowboy from The Village People) on “Glory Hole.” It’s a beastly blend of strange choices and good execution that makes the album well worthy of multiple spins.
Of course, being the outspoken lads that they are, The Moonlandingz’ debut is not without substance – and in a few spots, some uncharacteristically reticent political commentary. The fast and freaky “I.D.S.,” for example, seems to be a jab at Iain Duncan Smith, the British Conservative Party politician, deploring his reign with the line, “40,000 years of job club.” Depending on how far you want to go with it, the number could be a reference to the 40,000 extra children who would be classed as living in poverty under his welfare reform – a horror once leaked in a memo to IDS himself. And that’s just one line in one song. The whole album is an onion of hints and lyrical mysteries, each piece bobbing and simmering in a thick stew of trip-out melodies.
If you dig ‘em as much as we do, don’t miss The Moonlandingz in NYC on May 11th at Rough Trade – tickets are available here! In the meantime, you can grab Interplanetary Class Classics on vinyl here (and you obviously should). As for the second World War gas mask, you’re on your own.
Author: Olivia Isenhart
Cover Image: Chris Saunders