The Professor's been busy lately, with a comic and a crowd-funded TV show, but more importantly, he has a new album: Father of Invention. Thankfully, this is a return to form and value, with everything here being newly-released.
Introductory Welcome: Short opening interlude leading straight into:
You're Invited: A storming opening track, welcoming many people to Elemental Manor.
An Englishman's Home is his Castle: A reasonable track praising the delights of one's country seat.
I'm British: The "single" from this album, released a while ago, with a video. Great stuff.
Back in the Swing of Things: Alborough steps out of character briefly for this one. This is a sort-of dis track about how you need to have actual rap skills to do well; just having a comedy character isn't enough.
Oh Geoffery!: The Professor's difficulties with his butler.
Hello My Pretty: Interlude.
You Remind Me of a Car: A spoof of the typical rapper's lurve-track, full of appalling chat-up lines. Not really funny, though, or that great to listen to.
Animal Ice Cream: This album's version of Animal Magic or Elixir, this track is about, well, selling ice cream made out of animals. Not bad.
So Long Sally: This album's version of Sweet Cold Coalition: The Professor makes himself a mechanical bride; things do not end well.
The Great Race: A rollicking track about an airship race, with particularly well-chosen samples.
Zeppelin Steeplechase: Interlude.
Hat Full of Sunshine: A collaboration with Sadie Jemmett, with the Professor rapping the verses and Sadie singing the chorus. Completely different from the usual stylings. This is reminiscent of the Animal Magic remix with Helen Arney.
A Little Tea Dance: Interlude
Everything Stops for Tea: An okay track about the British obsession with tea. Nowhere near the heights of Cup of Brown Joy, alas.
This is My Horse (Show Me Yours): A nonsense filler, this is actually more reminiscent of I'm a Sock by The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre. Not impressed.
Too Much Gin: Interlude.
The Attic: A cracking gothic horror track, giving advice prior to a perilous journey to the top of the house.
The Duel: Brilliant stuff, featuring Mr B., as B and the Professor go head-to-head.
All The Best!: A closing interlude, bookending the album.
The Duel requires a few more words. Much has been made (deliberately) of the "beef" between the Professor and Mr B, including a YouTube recording of them duelling live, wherein Mr B definitely comes off the winner. This track, on the other hand, is a nicely-crafted arrangement wherein the pair decide to bring this for a resolution once and for all. It's great stuff.
(And props to Alborough, too: my original download of the album had a problem with this track, so that it wouldn't play. Took a week to get it sorted out, but in the meantime, when I tweeted about the problem, it took all of three minutes before Alborough offered to send me an mp3 directly - marvellous customer service.)
For me, stand-out tracks are You're Invited, I'm British, The Great Race, and The Duel, although the first three are good musically; the latter's well done, but not so great in terms of music, as a good half of it is a cappella. The Attic is really good, too, but since it's supposed to be dark, mysterious and moody, it's not so good for background stuff.
A couple of tracks (Back in the Swing of Things, Animal Ice Cream) don't have proper choruses, which is a shame. Instead, they have scratching, with lyrics from the verses thrown in. Pity.
Overall, a good follow-up to The Indifference Engine.