HEY! Get updates to this and the CD and 7" blogs via Twitter: @VinylUnderbite

2 April 2010

Bonzo Dog Band - 'Let's Make Up and Be Friendly' (United Artists)

These merry jokesters have a cult following that I have never participated in, but maybe that's just because my only recording is this uneven reunion album. Viv Stanshall is practically worshipped by a few people I know, and I do enjoy 'Sir Henry at Rawlinson End', so it's good to have a 9 minute track about this fictional madland at the beginning of side two. It's a semi-spoken piece that's a jolly bit of fun, indeed. But the music? There's a few great songs on here, but I like the Bonzo Dog Band the most when they take on a weirdo R. Stevie Moore vibe, like on 'King of Scurf'. Their whole music hall/eclecticism thing is nice - I guess it's a sort of lost art - but it's not for me. The humour (mostly) fails to tickle me - 'The Strain', a track about constipation, starts things on a juvenile level. Just because you have an English accent doesn't mean you're any more erudite than an Adam Sandler record. I think I will never be able to clearly articulate exactly where my fine line is with funny songwriting. Why is early Sparks brilliant, but I don't like Dead Milkmen? Why do I like early They Might Be Giants but hate the later stuff? Why do I love Camper Van Beethoven but hate the Barenaked Ladies? (Ok, that's an obvious answer). With the Bonzos, maybe I'm being too harsh - there are a few cuts that I enjoy here, but it feels a bit haphazard and, well, I already said 'uneven' but that's the best word I can think of. The liner notes are a marvelously automatic stream, but again, they would be better if the music wasn't so ha-ha Monty Pythonish. Neil Innes did actually write a lot of the Python's best known tunes, and I sure ate the up in my teenage years. If only I had heard the Bonzos back then! Things just weren't as easy to hear as they are now.

No comments:

Post a Comment