‘You’ve a magnificent brain, Moriarty. I admire it. I’d like to present it pickled in alcohol to the London Medical Society.’ Ok, wrong reference; we’re not talking about Holmes’ mad-cap nemesis. Instead, for those you not yet been acquainted let us introduce you to Moriarty; a French-American folk roots quintet. The band are Rosemary, Arthur, Zim, Thomas & Charles Moriarty and they have been described as ‘Billie Holiday fronting Calexico’. Now that’s grabbed your attention hasn’t it.
The sound is a mix of folk, country, blues and cabaret fronted by Rosemary’s strange but beguiling jazzy, bird-like vocals. They have some real moments of beauty. -Cottonflower’ could sit easily with any of The Be Good Tanyas‘ bodies of work. -Jimmy’ is a country-blues number in which everyone’s name is Jimmy; and why not, remembering names can be bothersome.
So from that we can guess that they are either one big happy family or they just took the same surname to save on confusion, which would not be surprising. What they do have in common with the aforementioned Napoleon of Crime is that they too are just a bit mad… howling mad. Mad as a box of frogs to be honest. Their influences are many, including Thom Yorke, Ansel Adams, Steinbeck and Irish traditional ballads. This is even less straight forward than it sounds, -Loveliness’ finds Father O’Reilly breaking up with Tom Waits in a most peculiar manner.
Currently on tour with Andrew Bird, Moriarty have been peddling their brilliant debut album, Gee Whiz But This Is a Lonesome Town, since 2007. They have been winning fans over the old-school way, with rambunctious shows; steadily building a fan base in the UK and France. All aboard.