‘Have The Best Day Of Your Life!’ (Luaka Bop)

Release date – 12/07/2010

Originally featured on GIITTV

This ragtag circus of party goers known as TPDR, were born out of front man and founder Neil Fridd’s near-death experience in the centre of a worryingly traumatic lightning storm, back in 2005.

On that fateful day he promised to the heavens above that he would form the greatest band ever envisaged, if he survived his ordeal.

I hate to spoil the image of some ethereal being answering Fridd’s prayers with a sympathetic ear. I mean this ramshackle, though most exciting, bunch of Ritalin-starved New York loons fall way short of their promise to that un-named deity – let’s not fault them for trying.

Hey, even the name of this venture sounds like an after thought – it’s pretty long-winded and shambolic, yet they pull off one of the years more inspired lively chaotic albums.

‘Have The Best Day Of Your Life!’ is a cyclonic rush through ten tracks of primal scream therapy, delivered in a sermon like celebration by a happy-clappy layman in hip boho Manhattan – imagine the Polyphonic Spree and Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah! finding common ground in a nu-rave sweaty warehouse party.

A strong emotive spirit is in evidence from start to end, the motif and theme being echoed on every song, with reprises of the opening ‘Snakebites’ melody, or marching drum roll anthemic pre-sets, laying down a positive blissful mood.

Most of these hyper tunes follow a similar pattern, with the exceptions being the evocative sweeping stirring mantra ‘Lotdwykirthbr’, where Fridd and cohorts repeat “You’re allowed to be scared, you’re allowed to be frightened” in reassuring soothing tones.

Also on the late period Beatlesque tinged ‘My Favourite Hair’, they chuck in a faint hint of broody strings and exalted pleading saxophones, before building up the tension with a feverish cowbell, woodblock and shakers accompaniment backing.

There are moments of laid bare honesty and slacker resignation, the kind that those much-missed Canadians The Unicorns did so well and Why? continue to produce.

On both ‘In Your Face Sickness’ and ‘Go Directly To Space’, they sound like Lil Beethoven era Sparks hitting their heads against the side of a shipping container doors. Stark commentary oozes wry observations over a switched-on Bach synth loop and runaway pianos. On the latter an almost enraged slogan of intent is spat out, as the incantation “We’re gonna make it, through all the shit” has never sounded so apt.

Live they resemble a costume party, where no one’s been let in on the actual theme, so all turn up in the most random outfits.

Fridd usually can be found orchestrating events dressed in a protective romper suit fashioned out of stuffed animals, conducting his ensemble amidst a host of cheap disco balls, oil lamps and strange garishly decorated lights, brought from a thrift shop – lo-fi all the way.

Have The Best Day Of Your Life! manages to represent all these elements, without descending into a total mess, or sounding too refined either.

Believe me, you won’t have a chance to be bored as the album rockets through these tracks in just over 35 minutes, constantly shifting from one foot to the other as though it’s desperate to take flight and do a runner. Though they may seem to be larking around all the time and may even look like there taking the piss, this album is seriously well thought out and full of sprightly performances.

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