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Professor Elemental - 'Nemesis' Album Review


1. Show Stopper

2. It's Great To Be Me (Nothing Bad Will Ever Happen)

3. Something Really Bad Happens

4. Keeping It Ticking Over

5. An Officer And A Mental Man

6. I Love Libraries

7. The Handbook

8. What Lies Beneath

9. A World Between The Walls

10. Swim For It!

11. In The Bath

12. The Return To The Attic

13. Home Again

14. A Perfect World (Without You)

15. Prelude To An Altercation

16. Have At Thee!

17. The Price

18. All For You

19. Epilogue

Can it really be three years? Three years since the shocking conclusion of "School Of Whimsy" where Professor Elemental was left outnumbered by a gang of various miscreants ready to cause our hero and his orangutang butler some serious trouble?

You wouldn’t think it at the start of the album! The beats come think and fast as the Prof fills us in with what it’s like to be the chap hop superstar that he is. In fact, it isn’t until track three that you find out that he’s been plugged into a Moore machine (think a version of the Matrix where everything is brilliant) at the behest of Constable Jeremy Problem (voiced by Adam Felman), a member of the time police who’s out for revenge against our favourite time traveller (Doctor Who? Of course not!). But why?

"Nemesis" sees Professor Elemental joined by a cast of thousands (well seventeen people actually) as threads from his previous albums are brought together in what could be seen as a satisfying conclusion to his story based output (“Father Of Invention”, “Apequest” and the previously mentioned “School Of Whimsy”). The Prof has been held prisoner in his own mansion that’s now been kept in an alternative dimension as punishment for changing the course of events, including accidentally creating a reality where Problem's wife was never born. To escape our hero must journey through the deepest and darkest parts of his own home, gathering his own army to challenge his nemesis (think Toy Story meets Akira Kurosawa’s “The Seven Samurai” and you’ll get the idea), a battle where the ultimate sacrifice must be made………..

Paul Alborough, the genius/madman behind the Professor Elemental character teams up with his usual crew of Tom Caruana and Nick Maxwell to create a fun, upbeat tale. The music sounds excellent and Paul isn’t afraid to poke fun at himself (there’s a joke early on where he asks himself if he will have to refund anyone who bought any of the albums he created while in the Moore machine as, technically, they weren’t released) while also being reverential to the Hip Hop genre. There is also a lot of love for the world of geeks and steampunks with references dropped with great abandon.

The guest artists add some nice flavours too, especially the previously mentioned Felman as the titular “Nemesis”. He’s allowed to even appear on his own, something that’s not really been done on a PE album before. The whole thing comes to a satisfying conclusion. It shows that everything has its cost, even if that’s travelling through space and time trying to rescue your ape butler who’s wearing your Time Travel Trousers.

Is it the end of the Professor’s adventures? I doubt it. The character still has enough left in him that it doesn’t feel stale. As soon as you think it’s run its course it’s tweaked and given a new sense of life. Yes, it’s a niche sub genre, but it’s done so well. The humour is very English (on previous albums he’s rapped about the joys of tea and apologised for Piers Morgan) and you could spend hours looking for the Easter eggs that hidden away. It’s also rare thing - an album that knows that it’s here to entertain and provide fun which it accomplishes with ease.

More tea Professor? Yes please!

Review - Scott Hamilton


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