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. The band consists of two witty New Zealanders, Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, that take comical music to a whole new level. Their self-titled full-length album covers an array of genres among pop, new wave, electronica, hip-hop/rap, and folk. But does it work together?
It seems only appropriate that Bret and Jemaine are responsible for bridging multiple genres together in one album. During their HBO series, each song’s vibe followed the episodes entire mood, proving they could create such a solid mold. "Robots" and "Inner City Pressure" flash with a new wave and electronica style in such a silly and fun manner (as with the whole album). Seriously though, when a song has a binary solo, like "Robots," it is time to get serious. Need tabs for the binary solo? It goes something like, '0000001/ 00000011/ 000000111/ 0000001-1-1.' And yeah, it gets stranger. "Boom" and "Hiphopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros" are two gangster-folk/rap orientated songs. “Boom” begins with Bret uttering, 'she's so hot/she's makin' me sexist/ bitch,' with a Rasta-esque feel that leads the rest of the song. Meanwhile, "Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros" entices listeners with the incredibly smooth flow of verses. Between the Hiphopopotamus' (Jemaine) line, 'yes sometimes my lyrics are sexist/ but you lovely bitches and hoes should know I'm trying to correct this' and the Rhymenoceros' mannerisms with 'sometimes my rhymes are polite, like/ thank you for dinner Mrs. Wright/ that was very delicious/ goodnight.' Along with their rap battle comes an acoustic guitar acting as the beat making the sound different than ordinary rap songs. But they are not always gangsters, these guys do have a soft side.
Jemaine and Bret's range, lower and higher pitched respectively, complement each other perfectly. Jemaine's soothing Barry White-esque vocals in the love-making song "Business Time" is a narrative gem with an equally infectious chorus headed by Bret. "A Kiss Is Not a Contract" and "Leggy Blonde" are sentimental, cute, acoustic ballads. "Leggy Blonde" manages to sneak in a segment that is reminiscent of Sisqo's "Thong Song" capping off the song. In fact, what makes their songs unique, are the fact they are all based from their television show. "Mutha’uckers" is a folk-rap (never thought I'd say that) track based from when Jemaine and Bret buy fruit from a vendor on the street, but they are rejected because they are New Zealanders. As a retort, the "Mutha'uckers" song blossomed talking about their woes of recent troubles. And that's the beauty within this album, every song is an inside joke, yet accessible for anyone to interpret.
Overall, Flight of the Conchords created a well-rounded, original, and entertaining album filled with classic songs from their hit show. It may be hard to truly understand certain songs without knowing the episode and after all, you cannot recreate the incredible "Business Time" scene or the imagery of their revelation in "Bowie." With thumping bass-lines, great pop hooks, and quaint acoustic guitars, the instrumental portion alone keeps the album interesting. Add the vocals and lyrics and something beautiful is created. The Flight of the Conchords have been here for a while now, and it is finally their time to show the rest of the world who they are and what they are about.