As Kermit the Frog predicted and Arj Barker seemingly thought was happening all along, Bret McKenzie has ditched the management of Murray and is set to unleash an album of serious songs.
However, thankfully, we are promised that they might be serious, but they are not quite solemn. As the press release promises, the tracks will follow in a similar direction to the wry ballads offered up by the Dean of Satire, Randy Newman, and the sweet singing jester Harry Nilsson.
Not only does that hint at the style employed by McKenzie for his debut solo album but given that Nilsson and Newman are two of the finest songsmiths of all time, he has certainly set himself up to deliver some smirking classics.
With a jazzy vibe, his debut single ‘A Little Tune’ subverts the showtune feel of a waltzing bassline with a soft and understated topline (think the polar opposite of ‘Sally’). The Nilsson comparison is immediately apparent, and beyond the joy of the tune’s melody, the smile slapped on the face of Flight of the Conchords fans comes from the fact that yes, of course, he succeeds in his new venture.
Brimming with originality and an unburdened sense of sincerity McKenzie wondrously keeps the central tenets of the Conchords alive, delivering a smile all the same without ever feeling the need pull any of the jokes from the intermission banter into the song itself. This is the sort of anthem that could part clouds and coax the stars out amid a beauteous blue sky.
With a pun on the ‘A Little Tune’ title, the track is brimming with big band instrumentation and it oozes with the sort of spiritual honey that a Buddhist Pooh Bear could only dream of.
The album is due for release via Sub Pop records on August 26th and you can check out the Ezra Simons-directed video at the Royal Whanganui Opera House in Whanganui in New Zealand below.