Some may remember The Bedroom Philosopher as being the musical comedian responsible for the Triple J favourite I’m So Post Modern, a folk song poking fun at new age hipsters. The man behind the persona is comedian Justin Heazlewood, a regular on various radio and TV shows, who has now released his third studio album. Songs From The 86 Tram’is the soundtrack to Heazlewood’s live show of the same name, which chronicles the various stories of different people riding the Route 86 Melbourne tram.
The record begins with Middle Aged Mum, a piano ballad detailing the thoughts and fantasies of exactly that, a middle- aged mother with a desire to cook for Andre Rieu. The musical style shifts to hip hop for We Are Tramily in which the Philosopher states “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your Tramily,” as he rattles off all the various stereotypes that appear on the train. Up until this point the humour has been mild, however, this changes for the stand- out mid section of the record. Sudanese teeters on the line of being very racist before taking sharp turns to avoid the trap, with hilarious results, as a foreign man describes his move from Footscray to Collingwood. This is followed by Trishine, a Bogan love song that destroys all of the standard love song metaphors. The single, Northcote (So Hungover) is a funny, up-tempo parody about poser band members; while the soft folk track Irish Girl rounds off the humorous mid section with lines like ‘Thank you Lord for creating me in your image, by the way the Bible didn’t mention you were short.’
Heazlewood’s musical talents move to the forefront near the end of the record with the funky, INXS inspired Train Inspector and a pretty instrumental string number appropriately titled Song To Nod Off To. The record ends with New Media a shimmering musical piece about dole-bludging artists, and the sad and slightly beautiful Old Man At End.
The concept of ‘Songs from The 86 Tram’ is very clever and has been executed quite well even though the humour would best be understood by people who are from, or have been to, that particular area. The Bedroom Philosopher has proved that, although he is a smart ass, he has the musical prowess to back it up.