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Published: 2003/02/25
by Brad Weiner

Human Zoo – Mood Food

I knew that Mood Food would be an interesting ride immediately upon
listening to the first cut of their release "Human Zoo." The first track is
called "Eighteen Seconds" and is one of the most honest musical moments I
have ever heard. Essentially, it is random sampling of tones that lasts
exactly eighteen seconds. In the words of Wayne Campbell: " it’s not just a
clever name."
Past the first quarter minute cut, Mood Food plays music that
is trancy and weird but sticks together like a parking lot grilled cheese
sandwich. The music is heavy in both Hammond B-3 and horns, some of which
are played by the same dude, Mitch Marcus. Mood Food is creative in
utilizing their many colors including didjeridoo, mixing, samples, Rhodes,
vocals and guitar. With some tracks stretching near the ten minute mark they
do a great job at keeping the music interesting with lots of instrumentation
and wacky time signature changes.
Bands like Mood Food are impossible to pigeonhole but their vocals
sound like pissed off Bono while their jams sound like mellowed out Zappa.
They have no trouble interweaving the music to sound like a consistent wall
of sound instead of a mediocre band backing a frenzied guitarist or organ
player. By the time each track finished, I felt almost exhausted by the
number of courses per meal.
In terms of musicianship, drummer Damon Hope is the most
noticeable presence in Mood Food. He plays in seamless, tight patterns to
bring the vibe out even in 4/4, which they don’t play too much. They also
have percussion provided by John Merrill. The rhythm often has that
Panic-style circular feel where the up beats for one percussionist serve as
the down beats for the other. Mood Food is able to lay on the groove in
torrentially thick layers allowing their music to stand out from billions of
other wannabee funk jambands.
The lyrics for Mood Food are down right peculiar. A line from
"Spies" speaks in a slow, haunting pattern the words, "Defend your country
from yourselves and thoughts and infomercials/ I am not a spy but I can show
you somebody/ I am not that guy but I can show you somebody." Mood Food’s
words aren’t any stranger than say…Phish, but it’s the way their spoken
that makes them so bloody eerie.
"You’re Going Down Mr. Colorado," has a Latin tinged, ’70s
porno feel. (I never thought I would describe something with those words)
Think "Superfly" played by hippies. Marcus really swings on the
Rhodes, a talent that most keyboardists can’t master in a lifetime.
Mood Food is the real thing. They understand music and play a brand
that’s all their own. It isn’t too trippy, it isn’t too funky, it’s perfect
medley of both and also has enough musical competence to impress and
connoisseur of fine foods, moods, or musics.

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