Review: Dan Clark & The Difficult Three
THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY MUSIC NEWS.
When comedians make albums, there are several paths they can choose to walk down. Some, like Matt Berry, take their music seriously, and craft well honed albums that stand up for their musical merit, sans laughter. Others take their comedic style and apply it to the new medium, often with varying results.
Dan Clark is definitely in the latter camp, with his debut album sounding very much like a continuation of his How Not To Live Your Life character Don Danbury. The results are a fusion of Dan’s real musical ability and classic rock influences, and the need to make people laugh across a set of concepts that need to each be sustained for two to three minutes each.
Clocking in at just under half an hour, the album is short, but far from sweet. What is musically quite laid back, with a raw, stripped-back production that lets each instrument breathe (though the drum sound doesn’t quite feel right), is coupled with rather crude and laddish lyrical content that flits from downright hilarious and inventive, to just saying rude words almost for the sake of it.
Indeed, the album has been running for less than a minute when the subject of ball-cupping arises, setting the tone for a record that will take in bowel problems, men’s nipples and the shower scene from An American Werewolf In London over the following twenty nine minutes.
Clark, it seems, is well aware of this, with one track in particular, Baby Girl, addressing his potty mouth by comparing it to the increasingly crude manner in which contemporary RNB singers tackle the subject of sex. Lyrically similar to the kind of thing The Lonely Island parody, this thankfully doesn’t outstay its welcome like some of their more recent material.
And when the album works best in it’s rapid-fire gag making, is when it feels less like Dan is forcing the humour into place, and it flows more naturally from a man who genuinely is hilarious. Tranny With Amnesia is a highlight, sounding almost like a lost Gary Le Strange song with added slap-bass solo and a concept-album esque loudspeaker ending taking it up a notch.
Similarly, Don’t Kiss Me takes a subject a lot of us are familiar with in our metrosexual society, and when the band let rip, and Dan starts impersonating his mother, it’s a lot easier to feel like you’re in on the joke, rather than watching it from the outside.
Some ideas are always going to be stronger than others and with comedy records, that feeling is even more acutely obvious. Despite a few fluffed moments, what is here is fairly inventive in concept even if it doesn’t rewrite the rulebook on what makes a comedy album work. As a debut, it’s a solid start, and if Clark is to continue making records, my only advice would be to be himself, and let his natural charm and rapid wit do the rest.
Dan Clark & The Difficult Three is released on July 1st. Clark revives his comedy club night Clarks at The Soho Theatre on July 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th.