Flight Of The Conchords ‘Self Titled’ Album Review

*** RE-UPLOAD ***

‘Flight of the Conchords’ full length debut self-titled album is an LP that I’ve been meaning to comment upon ever since its 2008 release. With songs primarily shared from the very popular show of the same name, I think their music is often understated in comparison to many other of the ‘mock-rock’ genre. During the period of release, I myself was huge into this ‘mock-u-ment’ movement seeing such bands as Tenacious D live and getting huge into the parody YouTube subculture. So the main question here is how does it compare to other big names in the genre?

Personally I feel this album is the best mock-music album every studio recorded. A huge accolade and statement to start with I know, but there are so many elements of this album that work so unbelievably well from the duos chemistry, to the quality of recording, to the incredible genre fluency and proficiency. Though not every song is a gut busting laugh bomb nor a thoroughly anthemic venue filler, they all work in unison to create something very special. To think, they barely used a single curse word too proving that you don’t have to be crude to create brilliant ‘mock-rock’ music.

So the album kicks off with ‘Foux du Fafa’ which is a song that pays homage to the French lounge music of old and has some hilarious lines jam packed in a song with modest instrumentation that plays the basis of the rhythm very well. Though to your average listener it isn’t the perfect cup of tea, but it opens the LP with a couple great chuckles and an idea of the basis in which the band develops upon.

‘Inner City Pressure’ capitalises upon these chuckles and progresses the album into ‘hilariousity’. With a near enough perfect impersonation of the Pet Shop Boys, they manage to create a simple synth tune that wouldn’t seem far apart from the better half of the Pet Shop Boys chronology. The vocal performance of Bret and his effortless tone of speech fits perfectly and is actually a stand out on the album for its sheer replication of what has already been made popular.

‘Hiphopopotamus vs Rhymenoceros’ and ‘Think About It’ follow and they are also funny, quip full tunes that poke fun at the rap and groove music genres with ease. ‘Think About It’ in particular has some brilliant progressions and a gorgeous acoustic guitar tone which sounds more pleasant in the mix than many acoustic staples; whoever mixed the entire album did one hell of job. The vocal licks at the end of this track also really have you in stitches the first time around since Jehmaines big bassy tone is perfect for poking fun at many soul singers.

‘Ladies of The World’ is track five and probably my favourite off of the album. This is both from a song-writing perspective and a sheer musical viewpoint since I think the song does romance-funk better than many disco icons of the 70s. I’m talking excellent running bass lines, catchy as heck melodies, great diction upon syllabic lyrics that play with interesting puns and again that acoustic guitar tone! It’s sleek and sensual and it really creates an incredibly satisfying atmosphere; by any other band it would be a serious hit.

‘Mutha-uckas’ and ‘The Prince of Parties’ follows and they are little catchy jingles with a couple laughs pent in. ‘Mutha-uckas’ is one of the more forgettable tracks on the records but that isn’t due to quality but in the case that it doesn’t stand out quite as obviously as many other tracks. ‘The Prince of Parties’ plays upon the tropes of psychedelic music very well and offers some interesting sitar management that I found quite enjoyable as a change of timbre and taste when continuing the album.

‘Leggy Blonde’ is track 8 and it features the guest vocals from Rhys Darby (Murray from the tv show) and it is such a sweet little jingle. You can’t help but smile at some of the playful jokes added within the lyrics as well as sing along with the backing chorus vocals from Bret and Jemaine. The little eight second thong song I kind of wish was left on another track but then its random hilarity breaks the track up and keeps you on your toes.

‘Robots’ is the only real song I don’t like since I think the lyrics here are trying too hard to be funny, too hard to be random too. The instrumentation and rhythm isn’t too great either since everything being played here sounds tacky rather than clever. In the series it’s no surprise that I didn’t particularly like the track in context either since again I felt it was tacky and trying too hard, bludgeoning you over the head with idea rather than being subtly funny like the rest of the tracks. Considering its one of the longer tracks on the album, it makes it all the more harder to listen to just stretching out a weak joke way too far. Definitely the skip track on this LP.

‘Boom’ and ‘A Kiss Is Not A Contract’ follow and again they play with different genres poking fun at both ballads and synth club music. Lyrics are funny, the tunes are catchy, and they do the job… Moving on.

‘The Most Beautiful Girl (In The Room)’ and ‘Business Time’ are the longest tracks on the album and begin to start rounding off the LP with a fuller song structure. They are also two which Jemaine leads the vocals for and he does a great job further dramatizing his voice. The sexy, rhythmic beat of ‘Business Time’ is almost entrancing and the lyrics here are the best on the whole album. Showing real comedic chops and a great understanding for the genre in which the song is written, the song is a magnum opus for ‘mock-pop’ music. Cleverly adapting Barry Whites spoken word baritone style of voice to create a more realistic sex story has never been so enjoyable to listen to. ‘The Most Beautiful Girl (In The Room)’ actually uses some of my favourite acoustic chords to date adding hints of bossa nova into the mix and it sounds so good in the sonic field.

Lastly ‘Bowie’ finishes off the record with an intelligent yet playful ode to the late great icon David Bowie. Again the impersonations are comical yet professional, the instrumentation works in harmony to create a very realistic replication of the Bowie style and the melodies are all so close to that of a 70s Bowie track that you can almost imagine it being on one his earlier albums. After ‘Au Revoir’ the final track kicks in to round the album to a close, you are left feeling more than satisfied with the 42 minute run time.

So all in all the album is a perfect summary of many famous genres put into a listing of some of the best interpretations in modern music. They’ve almost accidentally created one of the best ‘mock’ albums in modern music; they wiped the floor with Tenacious D’s last effort. With some catchy tunes, some unintentionally brilliant musicality and some positively excellent production value, this album is definitely up there with even some of the best music produced in 2008.

8/10 – A worthwhile listen for those who haven’t even seen the show.

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