This wonderfully named band and album hail from the UK; which is immediately apparent as the singer makes no effort to sing in the cod transatlantic English that taints so much homegrown music. This adds greatly to the appeal of the album, not because I am a relentless jingoist but because it makes it sound so much more progressive and eccentric; two of its best features.
The band describe themselves as being influenced by many wonky rock luminaries but the two most apparent influences that come to my mind are Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and Frank Zappa, with Zappa’s lyrical madness and SGM’s convoluted addiction to time changes. Throw in a whiff of English whimsy here, a dose of noise and puerility there (and prodigious musical talent) and you have an album that surprises and confounds. Emotional depth and ethereal flute playing give way to chicken impressions and shouting, but melody and song structure are always there. Well maybe not in the 4 second long “Fairly Old Curtains” but you get my point.
The album is impressively presented too, with a wealth of Victorian era pamphlet-eering to accompany the album as it plays (a sort of mini slide show for your iPod) and lyrics that pop up over the artwork too, something I have never seen on other albums. Any minor niggles I have about production on this album pale into insignificance beside the achievements on display, so if you have an hour to spare and some internets to spend go and download this album.