As I recover from my tryptophan haze, one thing I’m grateful for this year is that Norman Cook saw to it that his fanny got going on a new album. And he’s delivered. I felt like a kid at Christmas unwrapping Palookaville in great anticipation, just waiting for those first juicy chords to come through my speakers.
Like hearing from an old friend, those happy go lucky, dance till I drop dead feelings all came back. Now in his forth chapter, the man that is Fat Boy Slim has done it again, using old song identities, samples, a Benetton variety of vocalists, and craft for making funk, soul, disco, and rock all come together with perfect persuasion.
Where Norman has turned is adding more cooks to the kitchen, bringing in musicians and putting his heavy usage of samples on the backburner, using them more as icing than the whole cake. He even dug back into his Housemartins days (a trivia question I’ve used on my old radio show) to dust off his bass and join in.
The other cooks are of course, those vocalists that give each songs that added human warmth and depth than your typical, computerized dance track: Justin Robertson’s sexy seduction on “Push and Shove,” booty shaking soul of Lateef on “Wonderful Night” and “The Journey,” and psychedelic rockin’ beats of “Long Way From Home” featuring vocals and guitar from Jonny Quality, who met Norman by coincidence at a gig in their mutual home-town of Brighton.
This is a definite A++ addition to the year in music, 2004.