The Vichy Government’s third album starts off with a haunting yet amusing eight minute spoken word narration of suicide and the protagonist’s resulting existence as a ghost, set to only the sound of a ticking clock (‘Death of a Mummy’s Boy’). It’s hard to tear yourself away from the story, as it is with all other 17 tracks on ‘White Elephant’, so gently commanding is Jamie Manners’ voice with its broad Irish accent.
Generally, it’s an interesting album that doesn’t allow you to concentrate on anything else, not even for a second, all the while remaining dark and vicious yet still seeming to be light-hearted and jovial at the same time. ‘The Greatest Gift of All’ is a humorous explanation for the existence of AIDS; ‘Abusive Childhood narrative’ is a sly dig at authors of books about their troubled childhoods; ‘My Mail Order Bride’ is the height of satire and is delivered in Manners’ deadpan tone that is consistent across the record. He and his cohort, Andrew Chilton, should also be commended on the utterly brilliant line “I bought her on Ebay for £2.99”.
The Vichy Government, strangely exciting and innovative in the truest sense of the word, provide a refreshing break from the norm with ‘White Elephant’ and have succeeded in making not only a wonderful record but also an interesting and hilarious one too.
Standout Track: My Mail Order Bride