Moor Mother – The Great Bailout

From the voice and vision of an artist working on every fringe of the underground, Moor Mother’s latest is her most idiosyncratic to a fault

Album Review by Noah Barker | 05 Mar 2024
  • Moor Mother – The Great Bailout
Album title: The Great Bailout
Artist: Moor Mother
Label: ANTI-
Release date: 8 Mar

Moor Mother first came to my attention in 2020, with her bustling no-wave collaborative project Moor Jewelry dropping into the abrasive subgenre with reckless fervor. Since, features across genres being checked off like a hit-list revealed the M.O. of the outsider artist; once one discovers her catalog, it carries the same pattern recognition as a discovered word shows up in every facet of your life, as if it was always under your nose. She is at once entirely elusive in her multiplicity, yet caught once and kept forever.

Moor Mother's core solo discography, a varied collection of precious gems among the coal mines of the music industry (or world), is an exemplar of the old adage of the auteur: a vision that sometimes blurs. The Great Bailout, while resting handily within her trademark virulent atmospheres and spoken word, is among her most impenetrable and least entertaining from a practical sense.

This is not a fault of the record, but a necessary and expected byproduct of its existence, as each track runs up to ten minutes in a dirge of menacing poetry with instrumentals more evocative of a sinister mood-piece than a traditional song; one to keep in the same mental vault as Skeleton Tree or A Crow Looked at Me, where easy-listening and comfort go to hospice.

However, instead of grief on a personal level, The Great Bailout takes great purpose in examining it on a historical and cosmic scale. Slavery, the modern racial identity, and how both intersect with the Black mentality may not be an unfamiliar topic to Moor Mother, but it is one she is spotlighting to a greater extent here at the agreed upon expense of songwriting coherence. If one can put aside the expectation that every record must present itself to you with optimism and your accessibility in mind, then a lesson in history and a case study in a singularly mystifying artist are in order.