Malcolm Middleton And David Shrigley – Music And Words
Perhaps not the most unlikely collaboration: visual artist Shrigley lives and works in Glasgow, where his new musical partner rode to semi-fame with post-rock miserabilists Arab Strap. If the formula sounds familiar – Middleton creating moody backdrops for potty-mouthed, tragicomic narratives – then the sound is rather more distinct. Here, the titular words veer more towards comic sketches, particularly on the bleakly farcical Story Time, in which a Jackanory-style woodland adventure goes uproariously awry.
Recognisable Shrigley tropes such as disaffection, misanthropy and skewed perspective are thrown up throughout, while Middleton’s musical cues broadly come from the 80s-tinged electronica of his Human Don’t Be Angry project – the stuttering synth coda of A Toast provides a heroically anthemic climax to the narrator’s sweary salute. Admittedly, there’s a tendency for tracks to outstay their welcome (especially Sunday Morning’s brain-scrapingly irritating knob jokes), but on the whole this is a fine work, shredding nerves and tickling funny bones like a lo-fi Blue Jam.