sat 18/11/2017

CD: Matt Berry - Night Terrors | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Matt Berry - Night Terrors

CD: Matt Berry - Night Terrors

Booming comic actor in seductively subtle form on lush psychedelic album

It seems to be the season for light entertainers to show us their musical chops, with Nick Knowles, Bardley Walsh and Jason Manford all doing their level best to prove that they are All Round Entertainters. Matt Berry, however, provides a rather different twist on the comedian-troubadour trope. Though he's best known for his appearances in the likes of The Mighty Boosh, House of Fools, Toast of London and so forth, he's already several albums deep in a musical career on a variety of extremely credible labels, touching on various flavours of psychedelia. 

The real surprise, given Berry's booming, Brian Blessed-ish screen persona – he's one of the few people capable of upstaging Vic Reeves or Noel Fielding – is just how subtle his music is. He's touched on folk, prog rock, and on 2014's Music for Insomniacs even ambient, but very rarely in any of it does his actorly presence intrude, let alone play it for laughs. But, crucially, neither is it filled with the over-earnestness of the actor desperate to be taken seriously. Even though this is really a collection of off-cuts – outtakes from last year's The Small Hours, remixes, a couple of cover versions – it's a gorgeous album that fairly bathes you in good vibes.

Berry covers Frank Zappa and Pink Floyd here, but though there's a lot of musicianship at play here, it's not show-offy prog. The mood is closest to the tropicalia of late 60s Brazil, urbane and sophisticated with a sense of the exotic running through it. Really, the only downfall of the album is that the remixes that top and tail it, by Saint Etienne and WARP electronica trouper Clark, though excellent in themselves, break the transporting mood of Berry's own tracks. Nick Knowles, for better or worse (ok, for better), this very much ain't.

@JoeMuggs

Berry covers Frank Zappa and Pink Floyd here, but though there's a lot of musicianship at play here, it's not show-offy prog.

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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