The other day I fell down a YouTube wormhole after someone posted a clip of this duo on Twitter.
We’ve all done this, I suspect: watched one clip on YouTube, followed by whatever it decides to play next, and then the next one, and then the next one, and then you notice something in the sidebar and you watch that, and it reminds you of something else which you search for and Hallelujah! There it is! And so on and so on and etcetera and so on until you suddenly realise an hour or so has passed, and you were
supposed to be writing The Chain supposed to be going to the shops, but you won’t make it there before they close and anyway it’s raining and wow I’d forgotten all about this and so on….
If you never saw Flight of the Conchords, you missed an absolute treat. As far as I know it has never appeared on any of them there streaming services, your Netflix, or that one who continue to give Clarkson money for a reason I’ll never quite get my head around, or that Apple one where everything is brilliant, apparently.
So, for the uninitiated, just as The Housemartins (who featured here last week) used to refer to themselves as “The fourth best band in Hull”, so Flight of the Conchords were “New Zealand’s fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo”.
First there was the comedy duo of the same name, comprised of Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, then there was a BBC radio series, narrated by Rob Bryden, which – if you’re in the UK, I imagine – you can still hear on the BBC Sounds app (annoyingly inferior to the old radio iPlayer as it is) or you can listen to the first episode (the rest are there too) here. In it, the two luckless folksters try to make it big in London, aided and abetted, but mostly hindered, by their gloriously inept manager, Murray, played by Rhys Darby.
Then there were two HBO TV series, the first of which which aired in 2007. These lifted much of the plot, and a lot of the songs, from the radio series, but this time set the…erm, I hesitate to call it this…action in New York.
There have been two albums released off the back of the two TV series, the first is compulsory listening, the less so; let’s say that they got the tricky third album syndrome an album early, which given that they were also writing a comedy series in which said songs would feature, is hardly surprising.
Anyway, there is much to love about Flight of the Conchords, and particularly their first album. Sadly, I can’t play my favourite song by them in this series, as it clocks in at a self-indulgent 4:05; you’ll therefore have to wait to hear me waxing lyrical about the time I played it straight after a Jay-Z tune and it sounded magnificent. I love a good juxtaposition, me.
So instead, my second favourite song by them:
And then there’s this, a tune which doesn’t make it on to either album, but which I think is just brilliant:
To give that some sort of context: Jemaine thinks Bret is depressed, and is trying to build his confidence:
I once put that on a mix CD for Llŷr; luckily he saw the funny side, and as far as I know, did not think that I watched him sleep. Or put a lady’s wig on him.
Well, not every night, anyway.