Monday, 18 June 2007

New album review: Paradise Armadillo - Barristers of Funk (Current Wow! Recordings)

Many bands struggle with their third album; it's not known as the 'difficult' one for nothing. So, with this in mind Paradise Armadillo have decided to bypass their third album altogether, following their second with their fourth, and leaving their third until a later date.

The band’s fans should be thankful for this; Barristers of Funk is a great leap away from Paradise Armadillo’s previous two recordings, Platonic Housebeast and Dipthonggg. The album’s opener, ‘(Don’t Care For) Parentheses (In Song Titles)’ is a cacophonous apewail of a song, with singer Terrence Borravan screeching his personal rules for life in rhyming couplets over a mash-up of heavily distorted guitars. According to the liner notes, this song features guitarist Peabody Pleasance playing seven different guitars at the same time.

It’s experimentation like this that makes Paradise Armadillo such an exciting band; the title track, for example, sees them assuming the role of musical lawyers, rapping about litigation over a backing track of samples of their own lawyers instructing them to cease their plagiarism of old soul records. Slower, more mellow tracks on the album include ‘Force the Peace (with Violence if Necessary)’ and ‘Deep Deep Deep Deep Down’, which evoke memories of the CumuloFunkbus scene of the late 70s and the Arts and Crafts Soul Movement of acts like Geraldine Marshall and the Glistenettes and Bobby Saffron and the Saffrogettes.

The only bum note on the whole of the album is the ill-advised cover of the theme tune to children’s TV program ‘Rod Hull and Friends in the Pink Windmill’. It’s impossible to improve on perfection, and Paradise Armadillo have only displayed their failings by attempting it.

It’s a shame, because this is the only thing marring an otherwise excellent album. Maybe Paradise Armadillo are ready to go back to that third album now.

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