FATBOY SLIM Palookaville (2004 UK 12-track CD album including the single Slash Dot Dash and featuring collaborations with Damon Albarn Lateef [Latyrx] and DJ Shadow's Quannum Collective Bootsy Collins Justin Robertson and Brighton band JohnnyQuality. Complete with picture sleeve booklet BRASSIC29CD)
Working with Blur on their Think Tank album clearly made an impact on Norman Cook. Palookaville
, his fourth outing as cartoon dance hero Fatboy Slim
, has a distinctly beatnik theme running through it. It also relies more on real instruments and proper songs, rather than Cook's laptop and fun floor fillers, swapping instant thrills for something longer lasting. That said it's unmistakably a Fatboy Slim record, and a pretty phenomenal one at that.
The trademark beach party anthems are still there. The Latino shake of "Wonderful Night", "El Bebe Masoquista"'s electro-funk and single "Slash Dot Dash" with its snarling surf guitar all prove that there's life in Bigbeat yet. But it's the mellower tracks that stand-up to constant rewinds. "North West Three", a dreamy twilight tune dedicated to wife Zoe Ball, is a gorgeously romantic swayer and plinky hobo ditty "Put It Back Together" delivers a ramshackle shot of optimism in the Think Tank style, complete with a drowsy Damon Albarn. Meanwhile, "Long Way From Home"--the moody sub-bass rumble from the O2 ad--and road movie rocker "Push and Shove" find the middle ground and demonstrate that Cook's imagination is as active as ever.
All the usual cut'n'paste musical bric-a-brac's there. All the wackiness and cool grooves remain. It's just that this time they sound just as good in the living room as they do on the dance-floor. --Dan Gennoe