Matt Berry is a very funny guy. He's starred in and/or written for such influential series What We Do in the Shadows, Toast of London, The IT Crowd, Snuff Box, and Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, not to mention his appearaces in The Mighty Boosh, Saxondale, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Disenchantment, and more. But he's very serious about music, and has been releasing albums for as long as he's been doing comedy. An early obsession with Mike Oldfield's 1973 classic Tubular Bells is a touchstone for Berry, and most of his own music feels like it could've been released alongside it. He calls the early '70s "my sweet spot period" and you can hear the era on everything from his baroque prog-folk albums Witchazel and Kill the Wolf to the Jean-Michel Jarre-esque Music for Insomniacs to his 2018 album where he meticulously recreated TV theme songs from his childhood. His songs have featured prominently in his TV shows, too -- if you've watched Toast of London or Snuff Box you've heard Matt's music whether you realized it or not.
Following last year's terrific Phantom Birds, an album inspired by Bob Dylan's Nashville period that featured legendary pedal steel player B.J. Cole, Berry is back with a very different record, The Blue Elephant, a trip into heavy psychedelia that's plays out as sidelong collages where songs melt into one another. Berry plays every instrument on The Blue Elephant apart from drums (Steven Wilson collaborator Craig Blundell is behind the kit) and is more than capable, delivering some seriously groovy basslines and mind-altering vibes courtesy of an impressive arsenal of vintage analog synthesizers he's been collecting for two decades. With lockdown postponing What We Do in the Shadows' production, Berry had a little more time than usual to work on this one and it shows -- it's an impressive production that sounds like a lost acid casualty artifact of the era.