Joker’s Daughter – The Last Laugh
This is mad. But possibly one of the great - if flawed - LPs of the year. I know it’s mainly the work of a lady called Helena Costas (who seemingly has a massive crush on all things Morte D’Arthur), but it does sound at times like this is a set of tracks with various guest vocalists (why I initially thought Cerys Matthews sang the sublime track, Jessie the Goat is anybody’s guess).
Let’s cut to the quick; this LP is enjoyably batty as well as being the fruit of an unlikely collaboration. Dangermouse, Daniele Luppi and Scott Spillane from Neutral Milk Hotel have indulged Helena Costa’s penchant for the Pre-Raphs, Christina Rossetti, Pentangle, Sandy Denny, the Serpents, Emiliana Torrini and Lord knows how many other inspirations to create a brilliantly over-indulgent album, full of faults, preposterous ideas and wide-screen ambition.
There are moments where the collaboration is strikingly good, (the title track is a great example), and bloody awful; Under the Influence of Jaffa Cakes or Jelly Belly aren’t psychotic enough, and get sloppy. And you sometimes get the feeling that communication between the artists breaks down, with the respective partners desperately trying to patch tracks together into a sort of whole. Things never get too annoying mind, however oddball tracks like Cake and July are, there’s always something of interest going on, (like the Cosmic Jokers-style synth part in the latter, which really gives a magical backdrop to the track).
The last track, Yellow Teapot is a belter, and a brilliant summation (if you can’t face listening to songs about Goblins) of what has gone before.
Words: Richard Foster