Flight of the Conchords‘ Bret McKenzie will release a solo album, Songs Without Jokes, later this year.
The Grammy Award-winning comedy duo he formed with Jemaine Clement have been pretty quiet over the last decade, with their last album being 2009’s I Told You I Was Freaky, and their performances together relatively sporadic, most recently a 2018 special at the London Apollo.
In that time, McKenzie has primarily worked on film and TV projects, serving as a songwriter and music supervisor for two Muppets movies – winning an Academy Award for Best Original Song for ‘Man or Muppet’ – and composing music for multiple episodes of The Simpsons.
Now, his full-length debut solo album is primed to arrive Friday, 26th August via Sub Pop. The album was produced by longtime collaborator Mickey Petralia and features contributions from drummer Joey Waronker, bassist Leland Sklar, guitarist Dean Parks and more.
As swinging lead single ‘A Little Tune’ demonstrates, it’s not a comedy album, instead drawing inspiration the likes of Steely Dan, Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson.
“Post-Conchords, I’d been working on songs for the Muppets films, and during a session I had the thought that it would be fun someday to work on some songs that weren’t for someone else, that don’t have to tell a story or be funny or continue the narrative plot, checking all the boxes for the character in the movie,” McKenzie explained in a statement. “I thought it’d be fun to do a record like that, something different.”
Watch the Ezra Simons-directed video for ‘A Little Tune’ below. Songs Without Jokes is available for pre-order here.