Boothby Graffoe - Songs For Dogs, Funerals…(Makin Projects)

The once-proud comedy album is making something of a comeback.

Released Mar 31st, 2011 via Makin Projects / By Simon Harper
Boothby Graffoe - Songs For Dogs, Funerals…(Makin Projects) Eschewing the lure of releasing DVD recordings, a disprate group of lo-fi comedians such as David O’Doherty, Tim Key, Demetri Martin and Bo Burnham have all opted for making an album instead. It’s perhaps no coincidence that all of these performers utilise music as part of their act, and this latest release from comic Boothby Graffoe finds him holed up in the studio to craft these fifteen tracks.

Understated and high on whimsy, Graffoe’s songs are incisive and clever takes on well-worn musical conventions. The thought of comedy songs is sometimes enough to make people shudder, though thanks to the likes of Tim Minchin and Flight of the Conchords this instant repulsion might have been tempered somewhat. For such a lo-fi approach, Graffoe employs subtle production tricks accompanied by backwards guitars and found sounds.

Much of the album adheres to a folk-inspired feel reminiscent of Jake Thackray, who so memorably fused troubadour stylings with effortlessly witty lyricism. If Graffoe’s set isn’t always as rewarding as Thackray was at his finest, then acoustic strums like ‘Never Say Anything Outloud’ and ‘Song For Boo’ are packed with warmth and gentle humour.

Songs For Dogs, Funerals gets more interesting when Graffoe mixes up the instrumentation. The piano-led ‘Genesis 2:18’ adds a smoky veneer to biblical references, and ‘Sausage Fingers’ is a light-hearted take on supper club jazz. He virtually throws the kitchen sink at closing track ‘Hartlepool’, a country-imbued stomp which scarcely pauses for breath.

Graffoe has recently recorded a DVD for the superb Go Faster Stripe micro-label (also home to established comedy names such as Richard Herring, John Hegley, Simon Munnery, John Shuttleworth, Kevin Eldon and Stewart Lee, who counts Graffoe among his favourite performers). It’s easy to suspect that these songs appear at their strongest in a live setting, but nevertheless this is an intriguing record full of mirth and melody.