Told You I Was Freaky

Flight Of The Conchords

Sub Pop, 2009


REVIEW BY: Mike Cirelli


It’s not the pathetic bardic lifestyle or posh New Zealand accents that make Flight Of The Conchords and the soundtrack to their HBO sitcom a hoot. It’s the way these two lovestruck buffoons compose serious, genre-spanning musical arrangements to contrast the silliness of their lyrics. There’s an undeniable merit to all of the tomfoolery, and that includes the far-out Prince-worthy electro-pop of the title track, where the Conchords make love to a cake tin to prove how freaky they are.

Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie’s knowledge of music must be rather encyclopedic, as they ape various genres and artists ranging from the ‘60s to contemporary pop. “You Don’t Have To Be A Prostitute” is an obvious – and great – spoof of the Police’s “Roxanne,” complete with hackneyed reggae embellishments and a spot-on Sting-like battle cry. “Rambling Through The Avenues Of Time” parodies Bob Dylan’s early coffeehouse folk, and “Sugalumps” makes a worthy male equivalent to the Black Eyed Peas’ unfairly maligned “My Humps.” But where Fergie justly proclaimed the globosity of her lady lumps, the Conchords are hilariously unaware that girls really aren’t checking out the front of their pants.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

And just like Michael Scott on The Office, that earnest obliviousness is what keeps the Conchords’ humor from becoming stale after more than a few listens. On their eponymous TV show, Bret and Jemaine aren’t just mediocre troubadours, they’re mediocre troubadours with feelings. Hurt feelings, as they make clear in the album’s first song. “Some people say that rappers don’t have feelings,” Bret laments over a pseudo-urban groove, satirizing the defensive nature of most rappers. The song ends with Jemaine saying, “These are the bulletproof 24-karat tears of a rapper.”

Their futile attempts to pick up ladies after open mic night is almost identical to the awkward situational humor Greg Daniels mines in The Office. When Jemaine and Bret argue over whom an attractive woman’s lazy eye was checking out, it’s not that far in inanity from a conversation between Dwight and Andy about the new female receptionist. This endearing lack of awareness – coupled with a proximity to real life –allows them to transcend the novelty of their schtick, something other jokester bands like Bowling For Soup haven’t been able to do. When’s the last time we’ve heard from them?

Things have stayed consistently funny throughout both seasons and soundtracks of their show, and now Bret and Jemaine are choosing between making one more season or a feature-length film. It’s pretty unlikely that either choice will be a misstep, since they’ve found their niche in the comedy world.

I Told You I Was Freaky is entertaining from beginning to end, even though there’s nothing as comical as “Business Time” or eclectic as “Bowie,” both from their 2008 debut. The phallic abundance of “Too Many Dicks (On The Dance Floor)” is just as funny as it sounds, and the disarming image of copulating angels described in “Angels” is made even better by the ornate acoustic strumming. A perfect way to close an album that’s so off-kilter and indeed (hilariously) freaky.

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2009 Mike Cirelli and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Sub Pop, and is used for informational purposes only.