Album of the week: Music and Words - a winning combo

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 January, 2015, 9:04pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 January, 2015, 9:04pm

Music and Words
Malcolm Middleton & David Shrigley

Warning: this album is not for the humourless or easily offended. It begins like all good things should do, with A Toast, "Greetings and good f******* wishes to you and your f***head a******e family" before sending best wishes to "your moron f****** children, who look and smell, like rats". And on and on it goes, as a cascade of synths and electronic drum beats build alongside the darkly witty diatribe.

The man responsible for this foul-mouthed "poetry" is Turner-nominated visual artist David Shrigley, fleshing out his cartoon work into abusive short stories. Providing the "music" to accompany Shrigley's choice spoken "words", is Malcolm Middleton, formerly of Scottish duo Arab Strap, his digital soundscapes creating delicately lush and pulsatingly playful backdrops to the stark vignettes of despair.

Both fortysomething men obviously share a puerile and cynical vision, first collaborating when Shrigley provided the cover artwork for Middleton's third solo album, A Brighter Beat. Here they create a surreal album of caustic pathos that is sure to garner its fair share of lovers and haters, although both factions would be wise to skip quickly over the infantile Sunday Morning, where Shrigley encourages us to take out our dong and bong it on our gong.

The highlight, and the song Middleton claims started it all, is Story Time, which begins as an innocent children's tale of fluffy frolicking animals before hilariously morphing into a torrent of insane expletives and crude violence. "Funny, disturbing, and then a bit more disturbing. It's a beautiful song, not just a cheap shock" is how he describes it. A strangely daft and disturbing pleasure.