Melody Maker
Barry McIlneney

Publication Date:
23rd August 1986


Hammersmith Odeon, London
AT least this was something of a special occasion, being the first time in a long time that I've actually fallen asleep on the job. It was during what else but “Moments In Love", introduced by Ms Dudley as “a song that some people get married to and others put on brylcreem to," And some of us just have a wee doze.

This reaction, of course, may be just what the increasingly frustrating Art Of Noise are after. They certainly weren't about to induce too much grooving in the aisles with a one--hour set made up of their minor hits and major fillers, all wrapped up in a stage presentation that occasionally moved up a gear to the downright mundane.
Basically, J. J. on the keyboards and fairlights is Tom Dolby's kid brother who hopes that if he works hard enough on his scales he might eventually get a proper job with the LSO, while Anne Dudley is occasionally brilliant on the piano but more often looks desperately in need of a lectern as she makes her very serious announcements from the stage and then waves her arms around to conduct the backing singers who are no doubt available for all good barmitzvahs and wakes. Somehow, it all seems designed to IMPRESS. Somewhere, it all falls flat on its face.
Maybe it's just that AON "tunes" don't stand a chance of moving from the party bedroom to the live environment without losing their basic intelligence on the way. Maybe it's the obvious tack of emotion that turns "Moments Of Love" into such a bore, and it's certainly the glaring absence of even a token Max appearance that makes "Paranoimia” such a dirge. The Art Of Noise will always make interesting noises on vinyl but live they don't really have anything there to avoid the timewarp trap and are thus a waste of time. Too much art, not nearly enough Noise.

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