Team America: World Police OST, Tompaulin, Lazyboy, Roni Size 2005 David Bennun
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Team America:
World Police OST/
Roni Size

[The Mail On Sunday, 2005]



Track & Field

Sunday Best

V Recordings

WHEN A COUNTDOWN of the top 100 film musicals was televised a few weeks back, I was disappointed to see that South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut didn't make the list. Trey Parker and Matt Stone may specialise in satirical obscenity, but their understanding of and affection for musicals is genuine.
 So it proves with the soundtrack of Team America: World Police, their Thunderbirds-style lampoon of US foreign policy (along with passing swipes at any random target that takes their fancy.) Following such bona fide comedy song classics as Uncle F***a and Kyle's Mom's A Bitch is a tall order, but they've executed a new set of parodies with typically savage accuracy and sledgehammer wit.
 The gung-ho, pseudo-patriotic stomp of America, F*** Yeah, the right wing redneck travesty Freedom Isn't Free, and the excruciating North Korean Melody, are all unforgivable, offensive and hysterically funny. Much like everything else Parker and Stone put their hands to.
 Introspective indie band names self after poet. . . I don't mind admitting I expected to strongly dislike Tompaulin. And while they do call to mind every mimsy, lank-haired clutch of milquetoasts ever to thrum feebly upon a guitar, it's only because they illustrate how this sort of thing can be done with bite and spirit.
 The difference - aside from Tompaulin having a knack for songwriting, which always helps - lies in the details. Into The Black never uses the haziness of its chosen form as an excuse to lose focus or lapse into inane lyrical abstraction. This record has a backbone where others of its type have only kapok.
 Promised Land duplicates the incongruous jauntiness of Travis at their doleful best, right down to the banjo. Days Fall Away is a restrained and beautifully realised guitar anthem. Useless is so small and sharp you could use it to fillet a whitebait. If the whole album was this good, it would be a classic. As it is, it's still a rare credit to its genre.
 A couple of singles to make January feel less like January. Lazyboy's Police Dogs Bonfire may be familiar, thanks to a 'phone advert. It's one of the standouts from their Penguin Rock LP - a genial, cushion-soled club album in the vein of Lemon Jelly and early Groove Armada. The track is a warm, languid, chiming rivulet of blissed-out electro, and the Reverso 68 mix will appeal to anyone who ever had a soft spot for Fluke.
 That Brit Soul singer Beverley Knight should have opted for lacklustre pop-rock on her last album seems even more of a shame when you hear her contribution to Roni Size's No More. This anti-gun plea from drum and bass's best-known producer, which might sound a bit sententious if the problem wasn't all too real, is Size's most ear-catching work since the marvellous Who Told You.

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