Album: Pere Ubu, 'Long Live Père Ubu!' (Cooking Vinyl)

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The Independent Culture

Pere Ubu albums are always prickly affairs, and this one more than most.

It's the soundtrack to Bring Me the Head of Ubu Roi, David Thomas's treatment of the Alfred Jarry play presented with stagings by The Brothers Quay at the Royal Festival Hall last year, with Thomas himself and Sarah Jane Morris playing the "fat toad" Ubu and his wheedling wife. Egged on by his ghastly spouse, the greedy parvenu overthrows the King of Poland and leeches the public purse – "We must tax the dead, but not let the living wait / I have plans for the weather which must not be delayed!" – but is himself eventually overthrown. Reflecting the original play's deliberately repugnant manner, the accompaniment is full of martial, rat-a-tat drum fusillades and pompous marches, synth whines, washes of white noise and colossal bouts of belching, perfectly embodying the childish antagonism of Jarry's irrepressible urge to "épater la bourgeoisie". Ubu, of course, is the role Thomas has spent his life preparing for, and his adaptation and performance reflect his obvious relish in embodying all that is venal, corrupt and selfish about arriviste politicians, amusingly embodied in a running joke about his desire to "wear the big sombrero".

Download this: 'March Of Greed', 'Less Said the Better', 'Bring Me the Head', 'The Story So Far'