Did you know there’s a band out there armed with ukulele, tuba, piano and drums who paint their faces and wear animal masks. They write tremendously silly yet catchy songs (think Python meets The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band) and have live audiences eating the cookie crumbs from the palms of their hands. Without further dallying, let’s jump into Biscuithead & The Biscuit Badger’s “Thought Porridge” and see what we find…
I’m going to denounce my intention to delve too deeply into the lyrical content from “Thought Porridge”. With titles such as British Hairpiece Champion, I’ve Got My Finger Up My Nose and When We Were Bakers I think I can leave my lovely readership to deduce their own kooky conclusions. What I will gladly turn to is the sheer brilliance of the musicianship. It is oh so easy to grin extensively and enjoy a record like this at its whimsical face value, but if we pause and listen just a little deeper the skill level in every breathe, beat and mischievous fingering is pretty astounding. The song writing too is very advanced, the arrangements cleverly layered while the chords, melodies and rhythms are precariously precise, almost toppling yet somehow always solid. It’s canny stuff!
There’s a terribly strong start to the album with a frivolous flavour of Sgt Pepper in Royal Park Road and the crazily catchy melody of I’ve Got My Finger My Nose (sing along now!). Terrible & Edible offers a little diversion with the rapping chops of Professor Elemental making a guest appearance complete with a little Latin brass.
And while the fantastical sentiment continues with ukulele strums and oompah tuba, the style actually sways quite a bit with the subtle sentimental leanings of When We Were Bakers and the seductive late night sway of Bison and its jazz piano. Indeed Bathroom seems to plough some boogie woogie blues straight into an Elton John chorus concluding with a guest appearance from Terry Pratchett’s Librarian.
To enhance your amusement further still, there’s also a rather natty accompanying spiral spined song book complete with chord charts, lyrics and melodic notation. This may sound like a little strum along fun but be warned, even the three chord Bison requires Eb, Ebm6 and Bb. All the better for advancing your skills however, but warm up those dexterous digits first!
One can sum this album up with two words. Triumphant and daft. Perhaps we should always remember, at its very core at least, the ukulele is a fun instrument. It is performers as charming as these jubilant jesters that take this notion to its most entertaining extremes both live and, it seems, also in the studio. I challenge you to listen this CD and not smile. And what could be nicer than that.
“Thought Porridge” is out November 3rd & you can order it here.