Friday 13 June 2014

Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5 - Party To Make Music To Party To Make Music To Party To Make Music To 1

Album review by KevW

Having followed bonkers Glasgow collective Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5 for over two years, it seemed unlikely that their debut album would be anything other than a temporary heap of fun; a few good sniggers and then forgotten about before the year was out. Naming the record 'Party To Make Music To Party To Make Music To Party To Make Music To 1' did little to change this assumption, but fire the thing up and there's a heck of a lot more substance, imagination and overall quality than was to be expected. So that's put me in my place then. It may be difficult to take too seriously an album that begins with the line "It's like hanky-panky, with Jimmy Krankie, it's wrong on so many levels" (from the stupendous 'How Many Many's' - other choice lines: "It's like a game of bukkake, with Colonel Gaddafi, it's wrong on so many levels... or a Chinese waiter, in an elevator, he's Wong on so many levels"). Given its propensity for such humour, taking something seriously would be a challenge were it not a kick-ass song, filled with brass and an array of other instrumentation; this has taken the early demos and transformed them into something of some might.

Further proof of their blossoming into genuine contenders comes with the new version of 'Gay Icon', their hymn to same-sex marriage. Naturally it comes with a few chuckles in the lyrics. Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5 don't like to repeat the same tricks though, and 'Party...' touches base with a multitude of genres, all of which fit together nicely, and all of which are arranged brilliantly, lifting them far higher than those first demos would have you believe. 'Dance Off' might have a hint of the Goldie Lookin Chains about it, and it is rare to hear such a strong Scottish accent attempting a form of novelty rap, but although it's not the most memorable song here, it's no space filler, and much the same could be said for disco track 'International Sex Hero'. How on earth you can create mariachi psych-folk is beyond me, but there it is on 'Walk Of Shame', sounding just dapper. Punk with animal noises sounds like the kind of song you'd cross over to the other side of the road to avoid if you saw it walking towards you. Once again though, 'Ecological Damage' succeeds where it really has no right to. Cod-ragga? Sounds like it should be avoided at all costs, so quite how 'Bouncy Ball' works so well isn't clear, but it does. Maybe it's to do with the fact that The Dijon 5 have managed to nail the musicianship so that the tongue-in-cheek vocals ("to the old times, when men were men and women were men...") are more likely to induce a smile than a cringe. The production and attention to detail really are surprisingly good.

The two songs that really drive home the fact that this is far more than a bunch of ROFL-inducing lyrics with some tunes that are perhaps a bit too good for them are 'Capturado' and 'Junkie Breakfast'. Since its first incarnation, cod-Western track 'Capturado' has undergone a transformation that simply makes it far better than before. The spoken-word intro, the picked acoustic that follows it, then the lyrics (in a broad Scottish accent again, there's no attempt at phony Americanization). That mariachi brass comes into its own here, and the cinematic instrumentation belongs to an old Hollywood movie, while the song talks of modern-day Scotland; of garlic-eating taxi drivers with verbal diarrhoea. It's exceptionally well made and somehow quite poignant at times. Speaking of which, full marks must go to the weird, wonderful, psychedelic, humerous yet sad 'Junkie Breakfast'. Despite all the laughter, all the messing around with different styles, here they let a strange seriousness filter through. Odd voices talk about different types of addiction, heroin, Facebook, cake... mustard. The music sits back and lets the various characters tell their stories of trying to get money and the desperation of attempting to get hold of what they need to satiate their cravings. It's funny at every moment (even including a Beatles impression) but actually makes you stop and think with it. This is no mean feat and the way it's all pieced together is hugely impressive. "There's methadone in my madness, if children are naughty you should give them a smack (snigger)". 'Junkie Breakfast' is surely the highlight of the LP and is the proof that Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5 are much more than a novelty curiosity. The album ends on the lovable singalong of 'Ginger Girl', and we're just left to take our hat off to them and offer a round of applause.

Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5's website

Stream or buy the album

Catch them live:

Jun 20 Solas Festival, Perth, UK
Jul 04 Kelburn Garden Party, Glasgow, UK
Jul 12 Live and Underground Loch Lomond Boat Party, Loch Lomond, UK
Jul 25 Wickerman Festival, Dumfries, UK
Sep 05 Live@Troon, Troon, UK
Sep 06 root and toot festival, East Kilbride, UK
Sep 13 Glasgow Barfly, Glasgow, UK
Nov 01 Swg3 Warehouse, Glasgow, UK

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