Adam & Joe’s Song Wars was the highlight of their last BBC 6 Music season. Each week the indie comedy darlings would pick a topic, or a topic was suggested, and they prepared a song for the next week. Amidst a flurry of Garage Band activity, the following week the indie faithful craned their heads to swallow up three minutes of hilarity, or shit in accordance with comedy's dependence on polemics. It was a revelation to hear Roger Moore on the show declaring his enjoyment of Adam Buxton’s ‘Quantum Of Solace’.
With this second collection, Adam takes side one and Joe side two. It has to be said Adam kicks Joe’s ass. ‘Festival Song’ hits the yippiefication of festival-goers (and promoters, at the expense of band fees probably) as Adam gorbles “Load up the 4x4/It’s festival time/We’re stuffing the chill bag/With nibbles and wine” to a backing track that would cosy up nicely to a runaway shopping trolley scene from Last Of The Summer Wine. When Adam raps “Everybody over to the advert stage/Moby’s on, oh yes/Then it’s Groove Armada/With the theme from M&S/Then it’s a bloke, that I don’t really know/With a tune from a phone campaign/Then it’s Suggs with the Iceland theme/Then Moby’s on again” the hilarity breeds anger.
Adam’s side is prone to toilet humour too - 'Nutty Room' contrasts mad scientist villain Hannibal Lector to gypsy lounge jazz and 'Special Bath' offers a pleasingly irrational hatred of backpackers. ‘Bob Dylan’s DVD Box Set’ will strike a warm chord with Wire lovers when Dylan declares “My favourite one is Omar/But I love Stringer Bell/Did you know that he’s English/And McNulty is as well.” These moments of belly-laugh escapism were far more anticipated than a hot new band or sound.
This isn’t to put Cornish down. He fights well. But he’s a bit more grown up. The best song on the whole collection is probably his ‘Bathtime for Bowie’, the chorus of “Splish, splosh/Tonight’s gonna’ be Bowie bathnight/Splosh splish/Bowie is having a bath” is catchy fun and a Bowie impression can’t fail to win. ‘Antiques Roadshow’ highlights how entertaining said show really is, whereas ‘This Week In Grazia’ uses a grace/swing snare, reigniting a love of long-lost rolling D'n'B, as Cornish reads out the magazine’s contents page (surely literally). It’s an index of word rubbish (“Winter’s palette/This week’s fashion fix/The fifteen new secret wrinkle busters have landed/Beauty bulletin/ Your new seasons beauty hot list”) that rightly sends Cornish-as-reader into an anxiety attack.
‘Song for Margaret Mountford’ places the stern adviser to Lord Sugar as the focus of a slush ballad (“Standing at Sir Alan’s side/A Trusted employee/A Handsome woman/With such dignity”) and works a treat, and ‘Dr Sexy’ rollicks in soul samples and feels like a Flight of The Conchords song.
It’s great when comedians can handle more than one brush, which Adam and Joe have done for ages. Song Wars Volume 2is only one feather in their Native American head dress but it’s a nice one. These songs are far more than mere novelties and the faux Dave Brubeck/jazz sleeve pastiche is brilliant. The prospect of another Adam and Joe season was the determining factor in my voting to save 6 Music, I’d imagine I’m not alone.
7Jon Falcone's Score