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Glorious and Idiotic

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Album Review

Glorious & Idiotic, a decent recording-quality live show captured for posterity in Hamburg, Germany, is less a triumphant return than a particularly inspired, quiet continuation. The Jazz Butcher Conspiracy, with songwriter Pat Fish (aka the Jazz Butcher himself) ever at the conspiracy's center, has been making sophisticated acoustic-punk-pop-jazz (à la Jonathan Richman if he spent more time bellying up to the bar) for nearly two decades as of this release. Glorious & Idiotic is the reunion of Fish, longtime cohort/vocal doppelganger Max Eider, and drummer/multi-instrumentalist Owen Jones. This particular conglomeration of conspirators is responsible for some of the Jazz Butcher Conspiracy's finer, early-career recorded moments. Judging by the evidence presented here, the three blokes haven't missed a beat (though they've mellowed a bit since the early '80s). The musical nuances are intact, the pairing and juxtaposition of playful incisive wit and irresistibly catchy melodies — a hallmark of the JBC — are all here in glorious, spontaneous live idiocy. Sometimes sublime and heartbreaking, other times absurd and borderline stupid, the Jazz Butcher is always compelling and this release spurred Pat Fish and the reunited lineup to take a trip around the States, something they hadn't done in more than a decade. So you know they thought the magic was there. Judging by such classic JBC tracks as "Partytime," the sublime "Rain," and such ridiculous romps as the strum-punk of "Caroline Wheeler's Birthday Present" and "Bigfoot Motel," it's clear that these three men — who collectively created some of the most underrecognized, smartest pop music to ever barely escape the British Isles — are thankfully still a viable alternative to an unthinking mainstream.

Glorious and Idiotic, The Jazz Butcher Conspiracy
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