Credible Muggins

Peter Blegvad and Andy Partridge — Orpheus The Lowdown

  1. Savannah
  2. Brown-Out on Olympus
  3. The Blimp Poet
  4. Night of the Comet
  5. Necessary Shadows
  6. Galveston
  7. Beetle
  8. Heartcall
  9. Noun Verbs
  10. Eurydice
  11. Divine Blood
  12. Steel Bed

Peter Blegvad, cartoonist, illustrator, musician, first came to prominence in the early 1970s as a founding member of the imaginatively eccentric band Slapp Happy. Towards the end of that decade, Andy Partridge leapt to fame as guitarist, singer, and songwriter for quasi-power-pop-punk band XTC. Over the years, both gents have trodden many and varied paths which have, on occasions, crossed. One of the results of these interchanges is the album “Orpheus The Lowdown”. Apparently, the album has been in the making since 1990. Fortunately, both protagonists have produced other works over these years.

The packaging of “Orpheus” is fab — the singularly striking A5 digipak contains a booklet with all the words and many wonderful Blegvad illustrations. But what of the disc itself? The words (one could hardly call them lyrics, as they are all spoken) are all Blegvad's work and are painfully pompous and plainly pretentious. There is no music included. As a backdrop to Blegvad's surprisingly interesting voice are many ethereal and ambient-like sounds, which seem to come straight out of the BBC's sound effects workshop. Nothing is coherent, not even the storyline — try as I might, I cannot begin to associate the mythology of Orpheus with Galveston, hookers, or lorgnettes. Perhaps we're expected to believe that Galveston is hell, or at least purgatory. But that's not what Glen Campbell told us. Whatever Blegvad was on needs removing from the market forthwith. Judged by the inarticulate and boring soundscape constructed here, Mr Partridge should stick to what he knows best — toy soldiers.

This album earns 1 out of 10 (entirely due to the fine packaging). Otherwise, it's particularly pointless, self-indulgent drivel.

© Straight Words, 2004


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