Ace (and highly innovative) live band makes so-so album shocker... or maybe that shouldn't come as that much of a surprise.
For all Misty's Big Adventure's dalliances with the orchestrally weird and quirky, they haven't as yet quite managed to capture the demeanour and urgency of their on-stage presence in the studio.
That's not to say Funny Times is a bad record; just that it's not a hugely appealing one, and in no way does it represent the full impact you get from seeing Misty's in the flesh. Sure, there's a diverse complexity in the arrangements that perhaps only The Hellset Orchestra come close to at present, while songs like 'I Can't Bring The Time Back' and 'The Long Conveyor Belt' offer wry commentaries on everyday life set to baroque-style music that is part Billy Smart and Frank Zappa in equal measures.
And herein lies one of the problems. For all the diverse musicianship and underlying statements contained within a large proportion of the lyrics, there's always going to be something from the band's name to the music hall joviality that invites the novelty tag I'm sure Grandmaster Gareth and co. wish to steer away from.
You see, for all the inventiveness and decisive plan of action to veer away from the expected norm, Misty's Big Adventure seem to have landed in a one-dimensional rut of their own marked ‘same old’. Even they seem to agree, as the last couplet of 'Everything Goes Wrong' - "Got some sorting to do / I spent too much time in my room / Sometimes I feel like we've been here before..." - sums up this record to a tee.
Me thinks a revisit to the drawing board may be in order ASAP...
6Dom Gourlay's Score