Opium CD review

Matt Berry's 2005 album gets a new lease of life. Jamie checks it out...

You might know him as the scene-stealing, loveable rogue from The IT Crowd, or as Dr Lucien Sanchez from Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, but are you ready for Matt Berry, the musical genius?

I’m not talking about the superlative ‘One Track Lover’ which Matt composed and sung for Darkplace, I’m talking about his 2005 album ‘Opium’, which is now available on iTunes.

The velvety smooth voice, the distinctly boudoir-esque arrangements and the concept album references make ‘Opium’ a truly fantastic record, and give further weight to this man’s genius.

For some of you, the ‘Introduction’ track will be the best track Yes never recorded. Matt’s spoken word introduction and the heady mixture of retro sounds will be the best three minutes you have ever had in your life. But wait, because it gets better, much better.

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I defy anyone to listen to ‘Love Is A Fool’ and not conclude that Matt Berry is the greatest love-song writer since Isaac Hayes or Burt Bacharach. It’s an insanely good tune, brilliantly arranged and superbly sung. If you thought ‘One Track Lover’ was good, which it was, then I demand you download this song immediately. The lyrics border on genius and the guitar solo is out of this world. It’s probably the sexiest song ever committed to record since Isaac Hayes did ‘Walk On By’. It’s that good.   And why isn’t number one?

The warped and crazy humour carries on, particularly on ‘Lay Your Love On Me’. It’s a full-on drive through Berrysville. I wouldn��t stop, if I were you. Just keep on moving, because you might not get out alive.

Don’t be fooled by the humour. The playing and songs themselves are damn good. He might be playing it for laughs sometimes, but Matt Berry has more musical ingenuity than every single teenage moppet who has appeared in X-Factor.

He is a comedy and music god, I tell you, and the world is a better place for it. “Opium’ is a rich and addictive brew, and the campaign to get Matt Berry to the very top of the charts starts here.