Britain’s bratty answer to 'Flight Of The Conchords'
Have you, this festival season, ever pointed at the muddy hordes clambering onto the shuttle buses home and shouted, “BUS WANKERS!”? Then you are the target audience for The Midnight Beast and their Inbetweeners-gone-hip-hop/emo/synthcore/boyband shtick of ‘strategy’ wanks, Jay-Z spoofs, waiting until the apocalypse for sex, thwacking bears in the balls and songs about how Skyrim is miles better than having a girlfriend.
They’ve rammed festival tents and racked up almost 50million YouTube hits for their home-made pastiches of urban pop turds such as Ke$ha’s ‘TiK ToK’ – essentially coming across as a south London student version of The Lonely Island with the budget of the average Al-Qaeda video. it was something of a no-brainer, then, for E4 to give geektronic comedy trio The Midnight Beast their own musical sitcom. Despite being the done-to-death story of a struggling band of twats living in a grotty flat and failing to get famous/rich/laid, the series works, melding a touch of quasi-surrealism from [i]The Mighty Boosh[/i] with the filmic yoofness of [i]Fresh Meat[/i] and [i]Flight Of The Conchords[/i]’ meshing of music and narrative.
But their stand-alone album faces two testes-tightening questions. First, is it funny? Answer: sporadically. Synth-rap opener ‘I Kicked A Shark In The Face’ tickles with its bouts of incongruous violence against animals (“[i]I hit the bear in the balls![/i]”) and its nature-friendly middle eight: “[i]so the animal-lovers don’t come for us[/i]”. ‘Medium Pimpin’’ – a pastiche of Jay-Z’s ‘Big Pimpin’’ – is a witty enough vision of the playa on a budget, even if Hova himself did it first on ‘Imaginary Player’. But they regularly misfire. Sorry ‘Censorshit’ but you can’t ‘spoof’ ‘Killing In The Name’ by just playing it badly while occasionally referencing large penises. Apologies ‘Life Is A Musical’, nice bit of “[i]happy finish[/i]” innuendo and all that, but the world hardly needs to be told that Glee is cheesy shit with homosexual ‘undertones’. So no, the Beast have produced nothing as comically sophisticated as The Lonely Island’s hilarious hipster-shriveller ‘Jizz In My Pants’, or anything that intellectualises genres as brilliantly as Flight Of The Conchords.
So we come to question two: does it rock? Answer: actually, a fair bit. They can do emo, rave-pop and boyband schmaltz accurately enough to warrant a future as a ‘proper band’. The Busted-style ‘Begging’ – “[i]When the world ends/You’ll be begging me for sex[/i]” – is as catchy as the clap at a Mayan Sun Death shag frenzy, and ‘Just Another Boyband’ is a cracking Tinie Tempah pop stomp.
Beast wankers? Yeah, but there’s a strategy…