Glasgow-based artist David Shrigley, perhaps best known for his humorous line drawings, recently released Worried Noodles, a book and concept album that features Shrigley's original lyrics (39 songs in all) performed by 39 of today's brightest musicians. The set, based on the songbook that Shrigley published alone in 2005, consists of a two-CD set and book and includes songs by Scout Niblett, Psapp, Dirty Projectors, Liars, Casiotone, Tussle, Trans Am and Hot Chip, to name just a few.
Like most concept albums, the concept wins out over the album but the bands hold their own, interpreting Shrigley's words with their own style and talent. Artists like Yacht, Islands, David Byrne and Deerhoof seem to naturally do a little better with the faux naivete of the subject matter and simple structure of the songs. Franz Ferdinand (old schoolmates of Shrigley) make it work by turning the song "No" into a driving rock anthem/chant. Others—Grizzly Bear, Dirty Projectors (no strangers to the concept album) and Final Fantasy among them—channel their distinct sound and avant garde approach so strongly that what's being said becomes secondary.
If you're in NYC 5 December 2007, catch Yacht and Islands headlining a show at Knitting Factory.