Lazy B - Lazy B TV
I was sent Lazy B TV back when Lazy B was Lazyboy. (Okay, this wasn't at some point in the distant past, more a couple of months ago.) My expectations were suddenly diminished when, just before pressing play, I learned this wasn't new material from the Rob Da Bank/ Mr Dan outfit (as I'd hoped) but the work of Soren N Rasted, who used to be in Aqua. (The name change was apparently to avoid a run in with the reclining chair company rather than to avoid confusion with another artist.)
Lazy B TV amounts to ten tracks of people talking over MOR electronic music, usually with some female backing vocals. It's a concept album intended as a critique of modern life. By now, many will be familiar with one of the best moments, Underwear Goes Inside The Pants. Narrated by US comedian, Greg Giraldo, it's basically a stand-up routine with some killer observations, my personal favourite being, "This homeless guy was asking me for money the other day. I was about to give it to him and I thought, 'He's just going to use it on drugs or alcohol'. Then I thought, 'That's what I'm gonna use it on...'"
Sadly, much of the rest of the record is voiced in a wearing mock ad-man style. Are You Qualified? is full of do's and dont's and advice such as "Get a gay friend, preferably with a different colour than your own". Inhale Positivity is a piss-take of motivational tapes over a bouncy house beat. We Only Read The Headlines and Facts of Life exist solely to relate a string of zany "facts", but at least I now know "41% of all people take people with curly hair less seriously". If I wanted to hear this sort of thing, I'd still listen to Steve Wright.
When the wacky commentary is put to one side, Lazy B TV becomes more palatable. The Manual (Chapter 4), for example, is a handy guide to rolling a spliff over functional chillout backing, while It's All About Love is a sweet collection of thoughts on love, voiced by "people from around the world".
Social critique and electronic music have surely been better combined before: in Adam Freeland's We Want Your Soul, for example. Listening to it and Lazy B TV side by side, the latter often feels badly dated. Musically, think of a blander Mylo or Moby. In fact, think barely more sophisticated than Aqua. The message is sometimes thought-provoking, but, thanks to the delivery manner, irritating just as often.
The best part of this release is undoubtedly the DVD, home to four videos. Three of these are rather marvellous. The visuals to Underwear Goes Inside The Pants might seem obvious, but work perfectly with, and indeed enhance, the track. Inhale Positivity and The Manual (Chapter 4) both take a humourous approach, the latter featuring a group of people in famous masks being taught about cannabis by the UK's queen. At one point, they have a fight with Saddam. George Bush farts in his face. It's almost worth the price of the package alone. The videos and Lazy B's eye-catching website prove the project to be far more successful when venturing into multimedia territory.