Charles Mingus – The Black Saint and The Sinner Lady (1963)
The UK Office is brilliant.
That being said, at first glance, it is nearly unwatchable.
How so? The many, many, cringe-worthy moments, mostly provided by Ricky Gervais’s character, the obnoxious David Brent.
On the first run through, viewers will likely wince at his antics. It’s upon repeated viewings that viewers are more likely to appreciate the craft of the show. There’s still the harshness but it’s softened by the more appealing personalities & the enjoyable dialogue among the rest of the ensemble.
I suppose my advice for maximum Mingus appreciation here is the same: don’t give up after a single perusal.
However, much like a well crafted Office episode set in Slough (or Scranton if you will), I’m left wanting more and each re-listen has been increasingly satisfying.
When I reviewed Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, I argued there’s decadence in dissonance & that certainly applies here. Just like Stephen Malkmus & Isaac Brock often balance on a similar tightrope with their vocal performances, the 11-piece band does a fine job of walking that fine line between intriguing & irritating.
The (well crafted) Black Saint and The Sinner Lady: sit back & enjoy its wonderful (if initially wince-inducing) layers.