Flight of the Conchords: Flight of the Conchords

[8 May 2008]

By James Greene, Jr.

Tenacious D for hipsters. It’s alright.

What, you want more? Jesus Figueroa, you people are insatiable.

In case you missed their hit HBO show this past Summer, Flight of the Conchords are two moderately attractive, insecure white guys from New Zealand who sing goofy, earnest love songs in the style of Loggins, Hall & Oates, and other trailblazing soul honkies. That kind of thing is always going to be at least kind of humorous. The Conchords are pretty good at whipping up deft, funny geek funk nuggets, as evidenced in laugh-inducing jams like “Business Time” and “The Most Beautiful Girl (In the Room)”. This skill has helped propel Brett (pronounced “Brit”) and Jermaine (pronounced “Jer-mayyyyyn”) to the highest strata of cool person comedy.

Hardcore FOTC fans are crowing about the song selection on their beloved band’s self-titled full length debut. “Where’s ‘Brett, You’ve Got It Going On’?” they cry incessantly. “What about that other song, the one that was so hilarious on the TV show that I now want remade on CD so I can convert it to the MP3 format?” they whine. It’s been like this night and day ever since the Flight of the Conchords track listing was revealed. The complaints of these extra-sensitive Conchord fans have kept me and my two beagles, Chuck and Biscuits, up for the past two weeks. Pretty soon I’m going to have to call city hall to register an official complaint.

Yes, there are those of us who have not been completely obsessed with Flight of the Conchords since they made the transatlantic journey to the lower 48. Granted, our numbers are probably lower than that of Titanic survivors currently not on life support, but still. If you’re not spending your days gnawing on your sofa pillows waiting for the new season of their program to premiere, Flight of the Conchords will probably appease you no questions asked. It’s a highly concentrated dose of what the Conks are best at—attempting to charm ladies with neutered cursing, awkward come-ons, broken French, and Shaggy impressions (the last of which is the foundation for the completely ridiculous yet somehow amazing “Boom”).

I have to be honest, though: to these oversexed ears, all the “girl, I want you, but I’m scrawny and weird” stuff pales in comparison to “Bowie”, a loving send-up of the Thin White Duke and his various career shifts. This bit stems from a now-classic episode of the Conchords’ television show in which Jermaine dresses up as Ziggy Stardust himself and comes to Brett in an utterly bizarre and extremely low budget dream sequence. The three-minute musical extension here is just as hilarious; the boys ask David numerous questions about his intergalactic travels while simultaneously saying his last name so many times it completely loses its meaning. Please, lads, more mockery of those who previously have not been thoroughly mocked.

It should be noted (right here, specifically, because this is where I normally expound upon such matters) that the Flight of the Conchords CD packaging is crazy elaborate. It’s a cardboard fold-out deal with a little pop up of Brett and Jermaine and a damn two-sided mini-poster to boot. Not surprising, really. This album’s on Sub Pop, a label well known for going overboard on artwork/promotion. Example: early copies of Nirvana’s Bleach were actually packaged with former Nirvana drummers. They had to end that promotion real quick, though, when some kid in Portland picked up a copy with Aaron Burckhard and the percussionist threw up in the kid’s mom’s car on the ride home from the record shop. Tragic.

In conclusion, what the hell, guys?  No “Doggie Bounce”?  I know that’s not even a Flight of the Conchords song, but it was on the friggin’ show and it was funny. Come on! Put it on the reissue or go back to Austrylvania.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/flight-of-the-conchords-flight-of-the-conchords/