|1||Eh Bah Ran||Graham Weir||Graham|
|2||Perfect Love||Terrence Reis||Christine|
|3||Wuthering Heights||Kate Bush||Jenny|
|4||Can't Help Falling in Love||Peretti/Creatore/Weiss||Bruce|
|5||Impi (Incorporating Inkunzi Bayihlabi Ngokumisa)||Johnny Clegg & Siphio Nchunu||Graham|
|6||Techno Rave (No Limit, Short Dick Man, The Messiah)||(2 Unlimited, Manny Mohr, Charlie Babie, Handel)||Jenny & Christine|
|7||Janie's Got a Gun||Steven Tyler/Tom Hamilton||Terrence|
|8||Working Class Hero (Including "samples" of Queen's "We will Rock You")||John Lennon||Christine|
|10||Whole Lotta Love||Jimmy Page/Robert Plant/John Paul Jones||Graham|
|11||On Children||Adapted from "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran||All|
|12||All Around My (Tw)hat||Hart/Prior/Knight/Johnson/Kemp||All|
I apologize to Not the Midnight Mass if they expect me to take their music seriously, it's too much fun for that. About half of the CD is witty and meant to be light-hearted, but there are some touching and serious songs here. In fact, to judge by the range of material, both serious and funny, I would be surprised if this CD was not a mirror of a Not the Midnight Mass gig.
On 'Mass Hysteria' there are sober-minded songs, Meaningful and Significant songs, but overall, this CD is just too much fun to stay serious. Fun does not exclude high purpose in discussing social issues, or personal ones either, so some of those songs are here.
Here in Texas, I've enjoyed a cappella groups at the Kerrville Folk Festival, an eclectic festival that appears to have similarities to Splashy Fen. The a cappella groups I've seen perform seem composed of people who can't stay serious long, and Not the Midnight Mass reinforces this observation. Not all intelligent people have a sense of humor, but, I think, a certain amount of intelligence is necessary for wit above the pratfall sort -- and Not the Midnight Mass have intelligence, wit, and style.
One can feel a range of emotions by listening to this album. It has social commentary, a warm love song, good dance feelings, moral outrage, political anger, spoofy laughter, sadness, and ribald humor.
Among the final five songs is a devastating version of John Lennon's 'Working Class Hero'. It would be a powerful song even if sung by the Drakensberg Boys Choir, but Not the Midnight Mass's version rivals John's own take for strength, irony, message and sneer.
An outrageous song is their version of Zeppelin's 'Whole Lotta Love' -- genius, Albert, genius! The penultimate track is one so true, honest, poignant and bittersweet that it hurts me, both a parent and a child, to hear it. Yet I always listen to 'On Children' when its turn comes around. The CD's last track is, in true showbiz style, designed to "Leave 'em laughing": 'All Around My (Tw)hat' is a classic-sounding round, a spoof on an ancient lay.
Dear Not the Midnight Mass: I'd love to see y'all perform, and the Kerrville Folk Festival goes on not far down the road from here....
Kurt Shoemaker, Blanco, Texas, USA
SA Rock Digest issue #105 (13 May 2001)