Taking the torch from Tenacious D
and then taking 14 songs from the first season of their HBO series (plus a 15-second outro), Flight of the Conchords
' first full-length release for Sub Pop is a strong serving of songs from the dynamic deadpan duo. Unfortunately, since the show included a few songs per episode, 11 of the songs didn't make it past the cutting-room floor, and gems like "If You're Into It," "I'm Not Crying," and "Sello Tape" got the axe, along with the character dedications and motivations "Cheer Up, Murray," "Song for Sally," and "Bret, You Got It Going On." It's forgivable, though; a double-disc set of every song would have been overkill, and most of the favorites make the cut on the CD. Fans still get the neo-soul ballad "The Most Beautiful Girl (In the Room)," the hip-hop attempt "Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymnocerous," the psychedelic acid trip "Prince of Parties," the dancehall anthem "Boom," and the French pop lullaby "Foux du Fafa." While New Zealander dry humor and matter-of-fact delivery are huge parts of the duo's allure, their adherence to their own style within a variety of genres is the icing on the cake, and to quote Bret
's reaction to the stranger who is denied while trying to sell a cake at a pawn shop, "It's a beautiful cake." With each song, they expand their range, paying homage with the strictest attention to details only music geeks will appreciate, be it the Marvin Gaye
"What's Going On" instrumentation in "Think About It," the Radiohead
"Fitter Happier" vocal impersonations in "Robot," the Pet Shop Boys
"West End Girls" similarities in "Inner City Pressure," or the many, many faces of David Bowie
in "Bowie." Versatility is their strength, and they show it off well. If they weren't great songwriters, lines like "Sometimes my lyrics are sexist/But you lovely bitches and hoes should know I'm trying to correct this" and "The manager Bevin tries to abuse me/Hey man, I just want some Muesli" might provide short-term laughs, but the music is clever and catchy enough to give it merit for repeated listens. Buy the DVD first to get the full story and then pick this up for road trip singalongs.