Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Cassette experiment day 20 - Half Man Half Biscuit 'McIntyre, Treadmore and Davitt'

Almost all of the best music ever recorded has a sense of fun. It may not necessarily be ‘funny’ as such, but it will have that certain something that lets you know that the artist doesn’t take themselves too seriously (the naughty little stop/start in Teenage Fanclub’s ‘Neil Jung’ is a good example).

Lyrical lightheartedness however, is very often misunderstood. Take, for example, The Smiths and Kraftwerk. Neither are considered by the majority to be blessed with a great sense of humour, but both were capable (in their own unique ways) of producing music that makes people grin uncontrollably.

One band whose comedy intentions are never misunderstood of course are Half Man Half Biscuit. On their 1991 outing, ‘McIntyre, Treadmore and Davitt’, the smiles start with the title, referencing three of the hapless Barnstoneworth United players from one of the most amusing televisual half hours in the history of televisual half hours (an episode of Michael Palin’s 1970s Boy’s Own classic ‘Ripping Yarns’).

From that point forward the album is a riot of popular cultural icons (Kendo Nagasaki and T’Pau to name but two), fantastic rhymes (I bet you’ve never heard Gymkhana and Nirvana rhymed before or since), and in ‘Yipps (my baby got the)’, possibly the greatest song about golf outside the back catalogue of Bing Crosby. (Contrary to popular belief, Japan’s ‘Swing’, while an extremely good song is apparently not a reference to David Sylvian’s love of a good walk spoiled).

It’s difficult to choose favourites when they’re all so good, but ‘Outbreak of Vitas Gerulaitis’, ‘Everything’s A.O.R.’ and the aforementioned ‘Yipps’ are the top tunes I’d point a stranger toward.

I hear that this is Gordon Ottershaw’s favourite album, although he has it on vinyl apparently.
Label – Probe Plus
Year - 1991

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