Speaking recently about the "Sweet Saturn Mine" video, Sean Lennon said, 'We were just trying to entertain ourselves. The whole thing was just having fun,' thus capturing the spirit of The Moonlandingz's album. I'm not saying this album is fun; don't get me wrong. What Lennon captured was the palpable self-indulgence that burdens it. If it's anarchic, it's as anarchic as shouting 'BOGEYS' in a public library. If it's ingenious, then so is any bawdy youth with a fistful of bluff double entendres. If it's humorous, then so is getting your knob out on a bus. It sounds like The Cramps, in the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, having a panic attack whilst watching Bobby 'Boris' Pickett and the Crypt Kickers on an episode of the Clangers (i.e. contrived).
Essentially, The Moonlandingz combines Sheffield's Eccentronic Research Council (Dean Honer and Adrian Flanagan) and two of manky post-punk agitators, the Fat White Family (Lias Saoudi and Saul Adamczewski, before the latter recently quit the band). ECR invented the character Johnny Rocket for the 2015 concept album "Johnny Rocket, Narcissist and Music Machine. I'm Your Biggest Fan". What was once a fictional band in that tale has now been given flesh and blood, as well as an excessive lyrical preoccupation with flesh and blood.
Shouty opener "Vessels" and "Sweet Saturn Mine" both have chugging, dirty-synth undercurrents and a frantic preoccupation with 'the matter that matters on the mattress' - 'vessels' and 'holes' featuring prominently. The latter ends with the giddy nausea of a swirling fairground Wurlitzer. "Glory Hole" doesn't vary the orifice imagery as such, but it does include a leather bar, Randy Jones from the Village People and the homophonic ambiguity of 'Ich liebe dich'. "Neuf du Pape" sounds like a lost track from the B52s demonic, dystopian period.
First single, "Black Hanz" lampoons small-mindedness, its narrator thanking nostalgia for 'helping me pump my pretty right hand'. Apart from the ludicrous Vincent-Price-homage voiceover ending with an incitement to castration, it is a meaty wodge of hypnotic Teutonic electronics. They save the best until last, with "This Cities Undone" including vocals from Phil Oakey and Yoko Ono, and a 60s psych beat, as if filtered through the Chemical Brothers. Like far too many songs here, though, it is over-reliant on heavily-looped lyrics and riffs. Pleasing to the ear as it sounds, it doesn't warrant the six-minutes-plus of repetition, or Yoko Ono shouting abstraction over the top.
There's more to being pioneering than giving yourself a spacemen moniker and blasting off into absurdity on your Moog Voyager. Like a fart in a spacesuit, "Interplanetary Class Classics" can linger fetidly - definitely a small step for mankind, rather than an exploratory giant leap.
Steve Harris wants to turn his home into a hotel for Iron Maiden fans.