Reviewed by Phil Thomson
Truth is, we have an uneasy relationship with clowns - and we have a set of them here. These festival favourites with their clever ability to lampoon hip-hop culture are musical slapstick in the finest old fashioned tradition: tracks "Drop The Beat', "Marmite", "Alan", "Elementally Speaking" - three of which fit neatly into genre - are ably augmented by the bonus Dave The Video and a round of interviews. It's chatty, vaguely rappy and it does what it sets out to do - thoroughly entertain. And that's it. There's a hint of banana skin embarrassment of the glad-it-isn't me type running through it, the amusement hiding occasional moments of thoughtful pathos, but generally, I'd say that the material is made for 'live'. It needs the personality, the nuance, the timing, the silliness. Stripped of the undoubtedly unplanned song links, stories, false starts, as a listen, it fails to engage; there needs to be a degree of sophistication and subtlety, even mystery in the arrangement and it just isn't there. Visually, there are one or two moments - the ironing-board gag on "Dave" is a fine little ruse - but on deck the music and songs feel like self-parody teetering on the edge of self-indulgence, pretty much as compelling as rubber-necking a car crash; you know, the 'how did that happen?'. Okay, so the theatricality is refreshing in a Christian culture which takes itself too seriously and just does not know how to handle satire and humour for its own sake. And to the Connection's credit, that means you have to think for yourself, find the denouement. I have the feeling this particular disc just might have a bit of the souvenir about it, yet as an introduction to a way of seeing the world, the only problem is that there isn't nearly enough. Watch it. Hear it. Smile.
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