R. Stevie Moore – Personal Appeal (Care In the Community Records)
R. Stevie Moore is a DIY underground icon who, since 1968, has released over 400 albums on cassette or CD-R, primarily on his own label. “Personal Appeal” is a compilation (number 42), which selects work spanning 1973–2001 – so the 15 tracks included are only the slightest tip of the iceberg. In recent years, his work has been compiled by avid fans Ariel Pink (2011) and Tim Burgess (2012).
Esoteric, outsider, unhinged, wild, bizarre, eccentric are all words that could be used to describe Moore and his work, but also philosophic, observational, political, exploratory and cynical would do just as well, and he seems to draw influence from anything and everything.
He clearly holds the work of Brian Wilson in high regard and “I’ve Begun to Fall in Love” is not only is sung in high registers, but shares the same protagonist as “Caroline No”, though it’s laced with a Zappa-esque cadence.
The fallibility of the recording process itself is lampooned in “Structure of Love”, where he reveals the reason for the music stopping as a splicing issue - which is resolved before the tune recommences!
“The Picture”, a voyeuristic tale of masturbation, that deems the picture in question as a more than adequate replacement for the terminated relationship.
“Quarter Peep Show” is a moog meets country absurdist hoedown, “Treat Me” melds free jazz with garage pop, and “Copy Me” cleverly has the lo-fi drum-machinations of a photocopier.
There is much amusement to be sought in Moore’s abstract and madcap juxtapositions but there’s also a great passion for popular music and a deal to be revered.