Release Date: Apr 22, 2008
Record label: Sub Pop
Taking the torch from Tenacious D and then taking 14 songs from the first season of their HBO series (plus a 15-second outro), Flight of the Conchords' first full-length release for Sub Pop is a strong serving of songs from the dynamic deadpan duo. Unfortunately, since the show included a few songs per episode, 11 of the songs didn't make it past the cutting-room floor, and gems like "If You're Into It," "I'm Not Crying," and "Sello Tape" got the axe, along with the character dedications and motivations "Cheer Up, Murray," "Song for Sally," and "Bret, You Got It Going On. " It's forgivable, though; a double-disc set of every song would have been overkill, and most of the favorites make the cut on the CD.
Review Summary: New Zealand duo, Flight of the Conchords, strut their stuff.It's not that often when a band’s notoriety comes from their humor more than the music they produce. The last noteworthy band, Tenacious D, was a proven success with their hilarious, yet serious self-titled album. This time, the Flight of the Conchords strive for the same goal.
From humble beginnings as mere stand-up comics, New Zealand’s “fourth-most-popular folk parody duo,” Jemaine Clement (bespectacled John Travolta look-alike) and Bret MacKenzie (wolf T-shirt enthusiast), have elevated themselves to cult status with their HBO series. Their album pays homage to Marvin Gaye, gangsta rap, Pet Shop Boys, Bowie, Prince, feathery French pop and just about anything else that tickles their funny bones. Mindless novelty fun? Absolutely.
Jemaine Clement, the brawnier half of the New Zealand musical-comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, claims his band didn't set out to write jokes. "We wanted to play [music] before the comedy," he told Interview magazine. "And the first night they put us with the comedians." It’s hard to take this “failed artist” pose seriously, seeing how Clement and his falsetto-toting partner, Bret McKenzie, are well acquainted with quality self-deprecation: The premise of the band's wonderfully understated HBO series is that the pair are hapless, deluded musicians, shruggingly unaware of their status at the utmost bottomest of industry rungs.
Flight of the Conchords is essentially an album of (mostly) R&B and hip hop pastiches. If I can quote Frederic Jameson at length for a moment: “Pastiche is, like parody, the imitation of a peculiar or unique style, the wearing of a stylistic mask, speech in a dead language: but it is a neutral practice of such mimicry, without parody’s ulterior motive, without the satirical impulse, without laughter, without that still latent feeling that there exists something normal compared with which what is being imitated is rather comic. Pastiche is blank parody, parody that has lost its sense of humour…” (his emphasis).