Rumors of the Faithful
Reviewed by Charlie Bertsch
Wednesday, December 12 2001, 6:04 PM
I returned to this record recently after putting it aside in September. Surprisingly, it sounded like an old friend. It felt like one of those albums I keep in heavy rotation for months. Yet I'd only listened to it a half dozen times. I'm still not entirely sure what to make of this sense of deja vu. Moviola has frequently been described as a band that rewards listeners' patience. But I was being rewarded for not listening.
When I first heard Rumors of the Faithful, I had mixed feelings about the record's accessibility. The songs are almost too easy to digest on the first go-round. Moviola seems to lack the edge that most independent rock bands display proudly. Unless you've never heard rock before, the alienation effect is not in effect. Even this record's "postmodern" references to rock history are muted. You can hear a little Jefferson Airplane a la Marty Balin, a little Van Morrison, a little REM, and even a little Blind Melon. But you don't have to hear them. The music coheres. Even more than retro-60s bands like the Apples in Stereo, Moviola is willing to please you up front.
But why is this a problem? The answer to this question is buried in the same dusty dresser-drawer as the one asking why "nice" guys have such a hard time getting laid. For better or worse, many people prefer to have their pleasure filtered through a heady does of pain. They want to work for their enjoyment. By making it easy on first-time listeners, Moviola puts itself in the position of the frustrated party who watches the girl or boy he has lusted after in the arms of the tough guy down the block.
Sometimes Roxanne does end up with Cyrano, though. Listening to Rumors of the Faithful one more time as I write this, the potential for a happy ending seems increasingly likely. This record may not strap you to a four-poster bed and shove a vibrator up your ass. It might not even make you come at first. But you can count on it providing you with years of consistently good sex without stealing your soul. That's more than I can say for Britney Spears.
Rumors of the Faithful is available from Spirit of Orr Records