Who the hell is Spaceman Africa the Musical? He seems to have, at least for me, come out of nowhere. Well, when it comes to musical comedy, few do it any better than this man and his musical cohorts. Spaceman possesses a very elusive skill – the ability to blend well-structured, organic-driven indie-rock with deadpan, back-and-forth comedic tales marinated in crossover culture references and day-in-the-life observations. His well-honed performances strike the perfect balance between music and humor, the kind of combo that perhaps only a handful of artists have managed to pull off convincingly in the last two decades. The one-liners and comedic timing are all refined to a sharp edge with the kind of spot-on witticisms Spaceman has obviously come to master over the years.
This makes the uproarious interactions between the music and the narrative seem practically effortless. It seems almost inevitable that the collection of material represented on his upcoming album had to be prepared for mass global consumption.
Hence Spaceman Africa the Musical is set to release his album, “Africa as in the Continent” on Saturday, July 28. The Canberra born and based artist has recorded musical versions of the multitude of humorous stories from his experiences travelling the world.
The twelve comical short stories covers his time abroad and at home. From being propositioned whilst hitch-hiking in Germany, to writing postcards to random strangers from the Dublin phonebook and inventing a new sport in Peru.
Spaceman hopped on a plane at age 22 bound for Europe and has consistently been travelling for the past 20 years. He started playing music as a teenager, first learning classical piano and then later expanding to the guitar and bass so he could play his favorite modern day music.
In 2018 Spaceman Africa the Musical performed for the first time as a band. Spaceman was joined by two of his longtime close friends, Miss J Love on the bass guitar and Nicholas Lee-Murphy on the drums. “Music has always been a passion of mine and writing music to entertain my fans is so rewarding. To finally record an album and release music is a great achievement, something I am very proud of and excited to share,” said Spaceman.
“Performing with close friends was a great experience. I was, also, able to fulfil two lifelong dreams; to perform my songs live with a band and to perform at the iconic Canberra venue, The Phoenix Pub,” he continued.
With thumping bass-lines, great drum beats, and quaint guitars, the instrumental portion alone keeps the album interesting. Add the vocals, lyrics and Spaceman’s expansive storytelling performances, and something beautiful is created. Spaceman Africa the Musical has been around for a while now, and this album finally shows the rest of the world who he is and what he is about.
The songs get caught in your head for days, and I honestly feel that you would have to be void of a sense of humor in order to not appreciate this recording. Most of the songs benefit from the keen instrumentation and production, which is top notch, finding a balance between a meticulous sound, and maintaining an airy live feel, so essential to this genre.
The guitar-driven arrangements are spectacular in their simplicity, and correlate directly with the intent of the lyrics. From the moment you hit play on the opening track, “Who is Spaceman Africa?” you’ll be happy to have found someone who thinks outside of the box. And things just get better…and funnier, with “Bondage Bob” and “Horny German Truck Driver”.
You’ll also love the richly layered vocal harmonies, which are a perfect foil to Spaceman’s dead-pan melodies. Elsewhere you’ll find album standouts like, “Brian Oliver”, “Did You Know You Only Get Ten Minutes?”, and the jangly indie-rock momentum of “It’s on FIRE!”
If you do care about entertainment, then check these tracks out, as they blend humor with a notable gift for song writing and musicality. All of which makes a great album in any sense!