It’s common knowledge that I suffer from periodic fits of Matt Berry obsession; fortunately, there’s always something new to discover and to fall in love with concerning the man with the golden baritone. This time it’s Opium, his semi-comedic album (available on iTunes!) that has lifted my spirits this week more times than I can mention.
If you thought the Snuff Box theme got in your head (due to the fact that it’s played at least twice per episode), you’ll be happy to hear that the same catchy melody resurfaces, and is set to new lyrics, on Opium. Another high point on an album replete with high points is a sexual escapade called ‘Taking Control of Your Body’ that’s bound to inflame the libido of fans of Barry White, Serge Gainsbourg and “Weird Al” Yankovich alike.
Opium is a difficult piece of music to attach a label to. It is, of course, not entirely serious – there are bizarre spoken word sections about visiting an old-timey prostitute in a tavern and lines like, “They want dancers, young gay dancers!” or, “I need some kind of black magic reggae to sort this one out,” and yet I’ve been listening to this record so, so much this past week that the irony has vanished and has been replaced with a sense of pure, familiar enjoyment.
It’s my dream to see the man in person, he plays out often in London (I even priced a trip out there for one of his shows, but it seemed a bit extravagant just to see One Track Lover – which is not included on Opium, FYI – though not quite as pricey as the trip Jim conceived around a rare Maddy Prior/Tim Hart appearance a while back) but there are no NYC dates listed on his site…
American audiences have yet to catch on, and the kind of specific and offbeat humor Berry deals in may not be immediately appealing to legions of Yanks, so my dream is likely to remain just that… Opium feels the void nicely though.