Sound, by Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip
Suggested by Paul Wray
It’s tough, being a comedy act in the 1000 Albums Project.
Firstly, as I’ve mentioned on comedy albums past, humour is largely subjective. What I might pitch as cough-up-a-kidney hilarity, you might view to be as funny as cancer of the testes. But secondly, and more importantly, any comic album has to pull double duty to achieve a high score: it has to make me laugh and get my toes tappin’.
I’ve an eclectic comedy taste, just as I’ve an eclectic taste in music. Sure, just as there’s things I dislike musically (Death Growl, Classical Nonsense, Barbara Streisand), there’s also a lot of things I simply don’t find amusing (Mrs Brown’s Boys, Bottom, Jim Davidson).
As for musical comedy, there’s a wide variety of excellent acts that ring my bell. Doug Anthony All Stars, We Are Klang, John Shuttleworth, Tim Minchin, Bill Bailey, David O’Doherty, Axis of Awesome, Vic and Bob. Let’s go classic with Les Dawson, Victoria Wood, Monty Python, Pete and Dud, George Formby. Or let’s rock your socks off with Tenacious D and Spinal Tap.
Mik Artistic has a wide road to travel, and clown shoes to fill. Is he up to it?
Sound kicks off with Six Missed Calls, a country guitar track that chronicles a man late home from the bar, facing the aforementioned notifications on his phone. It’s played largely straight, and with a pure twang of Americana that, at first, seems genuine, but fades by the end in a disquieting way. The next track is the sultry and hypnotic Voodoo, with a swaying cobra guitar that grooves and beguiles. It’s here that Mik Artistik’s true voice is revealed, and it’s a fine Leeds voice. Mik is a Northern Man of common stock, and his lyrics are working man poetic. Voodoo is a gentle humour, mainly driven through the incongruity of the lyrics against the smoky setting.
Then we hit track three, Car That Makes A Bus Sound, and we’re into straightforward comic fare. Again, the northern voice is a boon, and the humour lies in Mik’s chronicle of everyday mundanity. It’s John Shuttleworth meets Frank Sidebottom, with Victoria Wood’s worsmithery thrown in. As I’m a huge fan of all three, especially Sheffield’s finest, it’s no surprise that I loved this.
In an album full of genuine laugh-out-loud moments, such as the aforementioned Car That Makes A Bus Sound and the wonderfully barbed Hospitent, my Play of the Day is the fantastic Plastic Fox, a dirty guitar driven punk ditty about, well, a Plastic Fox. Here we have two minutes and twenty seconds of good-natured fun that I’ve had on repeat all evening. It’ll be track one on my Week Seven playlist for sure. Sweet Leaf of the North is another gem, reminiscent of a Pigeons In Flight Shuttleworth at his best, and even the melancholy track (Odd Jobs, The Zimba Sign’s Come Down) are poetic without being maudlin.
This compilation may showcase the best of what Mik has to offer, but I’m looking forward to hearing, and laughing, more. I can honestly say that this album was the most straightforward fun I’ve had in the project thus far. Sound gets 8/10, a score that’s well deserved.