Momus' debut solo record, Circus Maximus, requires a lesson or two in Biblical history. Rife with references to King Solomon, Sodom, John the Baptist, Salome, and Lucretia, Circus Maximus may seem a bit egotistical as Momus, aka Nick Currie, steps into the shoes of the good book's naughtiest characters. But what would you expect from a guy that named himself after the Greek god of ridicule, once banished from Mount Olympus for criticizing Zeus? Recorded on just four tracks using acoustic guitar, vocals, and the odd synthesizer, the album is one of the most inventive and sophisticated records of the '80s. The songs are truly haunting and eerie, especially the harsh whirring synths on "Lucky Like St. Sebastian," where Momus takes on the identity of a Roman officer senticed to death and shot with arrows for proclaiming his Christian faith. Also included on the CD version are covers of Jacques Brel's "Nicky," "Don't Leave," and "See a Friend In Tears," which breathe new life into the '60s French poet-crooner's back catalog. Undoubtedly, Beck, Pulp, and the Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon owe Momus a great debt for being the first of the foppish dandies of the '80s and '90s independent scenes, creating a pastiche of rock, folk, electro, and pop, while spewing forth literate references with every next breath and remaining viciously political at the same time. ~ Ken Taylor
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