Flight of the Conchords - Flight of the Conchords (Cover Artwork)

Flight of the Conchords

Flight of the Conchords (2008)

Sub Pop

Two years ago I came home late one night, turned on the television, and sat back on the couch. There was nothing in particular that I planned on watching; I just intended to fill my head with some sort of brain cell-destroying media info before falling to sleep. After flipping through the channels for a bit I came to HBO and saw that an episode of One Night Stand was about to come on. I remained watching the channel. The performers for this episode were some musical-comedy group I'd never heard of that billed themselves "Formerly New Zealand's fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo a capella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo."

I watched. I laughed. I laughed a lot.

Flash forward to 2008 and the same group now has a hit HBO show bring them much acclaim and their first, self-titled,full-length on Sub Pop. A followup to their Grammy-winning 2007 EP, The Distant Future, Flight of the Conchords expand on their normally acoustic sound to provide the soundtrack for their hit show. With the help of producer Mickey Petralia, famous for producing Beck's under-appreciated 1999 album Midnite Vultures, Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement take the folk-by-way-of-hip-hop sound that they're known for and expand it to full-band 1970s soft rock love jams.

Full of slow bass grooves and subtle (but not too subtle) synthesizers, Flight of the Conchords, strangely enough, channel Barry White -- whom they thank in their liner notes -- to provide a passionate comedy-groove album. Their slick, smooth white man R&B mixed with humorous, smart lyrics provides a unique and original sound that no one else can duplicate. Along they way they also dabble with old-school hip-hop, reggae, indie and Britpop, and give tribute to David Bowie.

While the songs are all executed perfectly, something seems slightly off with the album. Part of the charm of Flight of the Conchords is seeing them perform their songs. They are a comedy act, and the acting portion of their comedy is just as important as the music. For example, the song "Hiphopopatums vs. Rhymenoceros" doesn't seem to sparkle as much as when you see Bret and Jemaine perform the song. The awkward, self-delusional performance that they give off on-stage is lost at certain points on the record.

Despite its flaws, Flight of the Conchords shines as a musical-comedy record that you can't help but bob your head to and laugh at the same time. It's a record for all those romantics out there that realize that humor is the best aphrodisiac, plus slow bass grooves and a capella breakdowns -- the perfect combination for love.