The return of the comedy rock album.
Julian Marszalek 2009
How many times does a joke have to be told before it crosses the thin line that divides humour and out-and-out irritation? For those that have ever wondered – or, with way too much time on their hands - help is at hand in the form of Regardez, Ecoutez et Repetez, the fourth album from Leicester shamblers, MJ Hibbett & The Validators.
Occupying the space that separates the satirical surrealism of Birkenhead's Half Man Half Biscuit and the wilful quirkiness of one-hit wonders Tribe Of Toffs (see John Kettley Is A Weatherman), no subject remains too mundane or trivial for Hibbett's observational eye. So it is that office politics (My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once), the encroachment of middle age (We're Old And We're Tired (And We Want To Go Home)) and your office's IT department (It Only Works Because You're Here) are among the many everyday events that make up this album.
On first acquaintance, Do The Indie Kid is a pretty hilarious look at the dance moves of Britain’s floppy-fringed brigade (''Hands behind your back/And bounce your hips/Move your feet around/And do the indie kid'') as elsewhere, Do More, Eat Less puts paid to the myriad excuses offered by the less slender among us (''The reason that you're fat is that you eat too much'').
Musically, the album revels in the hinterland created by ambition and the lack of ability to achieve it but it's infused throughout with an almost innocent charm. As exemplified by the not-all-men-are-bastards plea of All The Good Men, the lack of malice throughout is a major strength and at times the songs are as wise as they are poignant.
However, by lacking an off-kilter comic edge, repeated plays dull the humour and ultimately serve only to accentuate the shortcomings. So, how many times does a joke have to be heard before it stops being funny? On this showing, about twice should do it.