Review Summary: Inflammation of the foreskin, reminds me of your smile....
It's a well known fact that a group of people can achieve a level of creativity that is well beyond the sum of their parts. Whether it's a rock band, a sports team or even something as mundane as a bunch of advertising executives the positive interplay of ideas, cross inspiration and even tensions within the group can result in creations that none of the members would ever have achieved alone. It's pretty obvious that Monty Python were more than the sum of their parts. The only member that achieved anything approaching their group legacy, at least in comedic terms, was John Cleese with his Fawlty Towers project. Since the break-up of the troupe the most financially successful Python has been Eric Idle with his Hollywood shows and, as well as his contributions to the comedy sketches during the group's heyday, he was responsible for the musical aspects of their repertoire.
This album is a compilation of many of the theme tunes and musical interludes that Eric wrote and like most things of a Monty Python nature it's a hit and miss affair. While watching the surreal sketch shows that the chaps put out you can be bored out of your mind for a stretch and then something in particular will crop up and strike a chord and have you in stitches. Some of the songs on here, such as 'Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life' and the epic 'Brian Song' will be instantly recognizable to many people but it's among the less well tread ground that the real giggles are to be found. The little ditty that Eric tossed off in the Caribbean entitled 'Penis Song', with it's straight-laced delivery and irreverent schoolboy lyrics will have you tittering and the 'Nudge Rap' is so daft it is extremely difficult to stifle a grin, even if you are not a fan of the particular sketches referred to in this very silly mock-up. 'All Things Dull And Ugly' might even raise an ironic smile from a devout Christian and the rousing 'Lumberjack Song' almost compels you to stand up and slap your thighs in time with the tune.
Taken in isolation, away from the visual or cinematic contexts, some of the effect of these songs is somewhat diminished. Truth be told in most cases you need to be familiar with the original screened material or at least be a Python fan to appreciate them. Some of the songs are almost cringe-worthy and tackiness is the order of the day throughout. But that was one of the aspects of the whole Python style and you either love it or hate it. The recently released deluxe edition includes an extra disk with some great live sketches but as far as the songs go just pick out your favourites and laugh along with the silliness. Then go and watch Life Of Brian for the 20th time.