Flight of the Conchords, Flight of the Conchords

Flight of the Conchords, Flight of the Conchords

My, how the mighty have risen. I remember seeing Flight of the Conchords at SXSW way back in 2006 and thinking to myself, “why am I the only one here?” Because there was literally almost no one at their shows, most likely due to a combination of the sparse crowds comedy acts (though I’m not sure these guys can be put into that pigeonhole; they’re a full-on two-person indie music supergroup) typically get at that festival, as well as the fact that they had not yet been formally introduced in America. But thanks to the ubiquitous exposure HBO provides (as well as various live dates scattered here and there, particularly at large music festivals like Bonnaroo and Sasquatch), Flight of the Conchords seem to have secured their spot as the next big thing in the minds of the cult-erground (bye-bye, Tenacious D; so long, Sarah Silverman).

Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, the two men behind the group, released The Distant Future in 2007 in America, and it rose no higher on the charts than number 116. Then HBO called (remember, it’s not t.v.), and this group turned from “New Zealand’s fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy-folk duo” into Grammy-winning, Sub Pop-signed media darlings. And why not? It’s brilliant stuff, and it might just be the next step in indie music-self-referential anti-music set to the sound of prototypical comedy, all contained inside the discursive language of politics and love.

Their self-titled full-length contains songs that will sound familiar to people as sketches from their HBO show (also called Flight of the Conchords). On them Bret and Jemaine tackle all the -isms you could dream of in a mere fifteen songs. Sexism is here — see “Leggy Blonde,” (where they sing, “I’ll never get to tear your clothes off on the photo copier”), “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” (“And when you’re on the street / depending on the street / I bet you are definitely in the top three / good looking girls on the street”) — speciesism is here — listen to “Robots” (“There is no more unethical treatment of the elephants / well, there’s no more elephants, so… / but still it’s good”) — and nationalism is here — in “Mutha’uckas,” they sing “The mother ‘ucker runs a racist ‘uckin grocery; the mother ‘ucker won’t sell an apple to a Kiwi.” The lyrics, along with how Flight of the Conchords deliver those lyrics, seem silly at first — sophomoric, even. But listen again. There is something very different about these guys as compared to other comedic musicians.

This is Mitch Hedberg set to music (and before you say anything — I know, Mitch Hedberg has already set himself to music; just go with it). Like Mitch, they don’t take themselves too seriously, they seem to have their lyrics set to the beat of the zeitgeist, they are deconstructors of the mundane, and, oh yeah, they’re fucking hilarious.

(Sub Pop Records -- 2013 4th Ave. 3rd Floor, Seattle, WA. 98121; http://www.subpop.com/; Flight of the Conchords -- http://www.conchords.co.nz/)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Friday, October 17th, 2008. Filed under Reviews.

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