The songs on Custard
's best-of and swan song are arranged neither in chronological order nor order of importance, but instead in a kind of nostalgic order, the way an ideal listener might have encountered them. It begins with the rushing guitar riff, whooping backing vocals and cowbell of "Apartment," one of their first songs to receive radio airplay and thus the first heard by many fans. Declaring, "I've got good accommodation/and I stay in all the time," it's tempting to read the song as a sign post towards their eventual breakup -- essentially, they were a group of homebodies whose distaste for touring the U.S. made them pack it in. "Pack Yr Suitcases" follows, sounding like it might be "Apartment"'s antithesis, an ode to travel. But no. "I want to fly to heaven/just for the weekend," McCormack
sings, in the faux-naïve voice that lets him get away with as much cynicism as he likes. Several of their most immediate and recognizable songs follow; "Girls Like That (Don't Go for Guys Like Us)" and "Anatomically Correct" are the twin apotheoses of the ironic love song, and "Music Is Crap" is their finest hour, maniacally cheerful and borderline insane in its denouncement of our musical tastes from the point of view of aliens. The source of that mania and insanity is referenced in "Caboolture Speed Lab"; that same amphetamine madness infects "Ringo," a triumphant homage to the underrated Beatle
that comes with its own dance moves. Just when they're painting themselves as drug-addled speed freaks a song like "Singlette" comes along, with its geeky dedication to Jim Henson
. Goodbye Cruel World
is an impressive document of ten years spent perfecting the unexpected juxtaposition and its use in quirky pop.