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Album Review

Both the title Moodfood and the subtitle ("Aural Medication for Tired Minds") neatly encapsulate the listening experience offered by producers Fred Hood and Grant Showbiz on this heady mix of ambient, trance, house, pop, and rock. The duo conceived of this project in almost therapeutic terms, envisaging the album as an extended, seamless composition that would stimulate, enhance or complement a range of emotional states. The resulting recording certainly reflects that intention: While it comprises individual tracks that evoke specific moods, to a certain extent they blend into one another and share recurring musical motifs. With contributions from such diverse talents as Jeff Beck, Chrissie Hynde, Johnny Marr, and Linda Muriel, this genre-blending debut displays an enormous emotive range, running the gamut from calming to exhilarating. The contemplative end of that spectrum can be heard on tracks like "Rainsong," beautifully enhanced by the soulful voice of Linda Muriel, and on the gentle "Hairy Piano," which pianist Liz Upchurch peppers with decorative new age melodies. The ambient calm of some of this material is shattered, however, by the driving rock of "Skinthieves." Later appropriated as the theme music to America's Most Wanted, this number showcases the distinctive, blistering guitar work of perennial axe-hero Jeff Beck. Meanwhile, the spaced-out house groove of "Problem Solved" and the heavier hip-hop rhythms of "100% Total Success" are more dance-oriented. The album's centerpiece is undoubtedly the soothing and poignant "Spiritual High," a 15-minute suite comprising three tracks that revisit Jon & Vangelis' "State of Independence," feature the vocals of Chrissie Hynde and, elsewhere, sample Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1963 Lincoln Memorial speech. Despite the considerable success of Moodfood, fans would have to wait five years for a studio follow-up. In 1997, Psychedelicatessen served up more of the same, albeit with less compelling results.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

The electronic duo Moodswings comprised Grant Showbiz (a onetime roadie and guitar tech who later produced records by the Smiths and Billy Bragg) and JFT "Fred" Hood. After first teaming in 1989, the duo issued their debut LP Moodfood in 1992, scoring an alternative radio hit with the single "Spiritual High (State Of Independence)," which featured vocals by Chrissie Hynde;...
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Moodfood, Moodswings
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