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Boothby Graffoe – “Bang! Is This Your Vehicle, Sir?” – CD review

Musical comedian and BNL fan favourite Boothby Graffoe returns with his superb new release, Bang! Is This Your Vehicle, Sir?, and is joined by an array of special musical guests. Released Feb 27th 2012.

Bang! Is This Your Vehicle, Sir? is the latest full-length album from comedy cult hero Boothby Graffoe, following 2004’s Wot Italian, 2006’s The Following People and 2011’s Songs For Dogs, Funerals…. The album maintains the surreal, off-the-wall concepts that we have come to expect from Graffoe, but is bolstered by smooth production and a rich, fuller sound, courtesy of his talented musician friends and producer Jimmy Melophonic.Scattered with impeccably timed one-liners (“The nurse won’t stop screaming… she’s a terrible nurse”) and musical interludes, Boothby’s lyrics often lead the listener in one direction before swiftly diverting to an incongruous tangent. This is demonstrated in England, where Boothby rants about the ineffectiveness of his music teacher, and Lullaby, where Dean Friedman inexplicably contributes a line to remind the listener that he does not appear on the album.Graffoe is also a master of disguising darker subject matter within happy, upbeat musicianship; a skill which Barenaked Ladies fans will undoubtedly appreciate. The Captain’s Address is a story told from the perspective of an unfulfilled pilot nosediving his plane, which cleverly climaxes with the cartoon-like spring noise which opens following track Hop.Boothby teams up with Barenaked Ladies multi-instrumentalist and long-term pal Kevin Hearn on Attack of the 50ft Woman and Hop; Hearn chipping in with some recognisable piano and guitar riffs. Hop is an album highlight and may be familiar to BNL fans, as it was a mainstay of Boothby’s opening set on the 2010 UK tour. Bassist Chris Gartner and drum maestro Bob Scott (both of Thin Buckle) also appear on the disc, along with frequent collaborator Nick Pynn.

Graffoe’s writing partner and tour buddy Omid Djaili also provides bongos and congas on two tracks, most impressively on the frenetic Dude! Have You Seen The Telly?, a stylistically skewed tune about a weatherman ‘gone mad’. This is another album highlight and a sterling example of music complementing comedy, a balancing act that Boothby has honed on stage over the years.

Elsewhere, Lullaby is a particularly harsh song about a child and Another Song For Boo is a somewhat twisted tune about driving away from a pet – but both are wickedly hilarious and relatable. Keith’s Song is a playful ditty with great harmonies, while Boy Could She Wave has The Verve-like strings and Fish With Feet is possibly even danceable in places.

Throughout the album, the musicianship is tight and lush; strings, choirs and even a saxaphone are employed, and Graffoe is a talented guitarist himself – the picked parts on this album are particularly meticulous – we should not believe that his music teacher was as bad as England suggested.

Bang! Is This Your Vehicle, Sir? is Graffoe’s most polished release to date – these aren’t just funny songs, they’re great songs. Musically adventurous and lyrically hilarious, Bang! is a must-have album for fans of good comedy and good music.

“Bang! Is This Your Vehicle, Sir?” is out on the 27th February on Makin Projects, and Boothby begins a UK tour in March.

Further details can be found on theboothbygraffoe.co.uk and you can follow Boothby on Twitter: @boobygraffoe.

Also check out Stewart Lee’s thoughts on the album here and another Graffoe/Hearn collaboration here.

Written by Liam McKinnon for BNLUK.net, 12th Jan.

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