Essential Gigs : The Spooky Men's Chorale

Much musical comedy doesn't quite deserve either descriptor, The Spooky Men's Chorale completely own both. The semi-legendary group, mostly based in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, are visiting the UK in July and August for an extensive tour.

Described as being "as sly as a wagonload of Spike Milligans and as sonorous as a cloister of monks", the haphazardly be-hatted choristers have been performing together for eighteen years - in a quarter of a biblical lifespan they have honed their collective sound and wit to perfection. Studio sessions have punctuated their touring; five acclaimed albums will soon be joined by an optimistically titled sixth, Welcome to the Second Half, just in time for the summer shows.

The man-choir is led by its founder member, Stephen Taberner, the sole Kiwi in the lineup. He describes their shared aim as, "trying to master the impossible art of being both musically immaculate and blitheringly stupid." That singular goal is achieved with a repertoire that spans Georgian drinking songs, whisper-perfect ballads, deftly refashioned covers and self-penned wonders. A creative maelstrom held together, as iron staves around a bursting barrel, by charisma and off-kilter intelligence.

On stage they are at their irrepressible finest. Delivering uplifting humour and euphoric song, The Spooky Men's Chorale are a prompt Antipodean antidote to Britain's self-imposed, mirthless angst; to receive your dose, go and see them wherever you can.