Fun Lovin' Criminals

Classic Fantastic

Written by: PP on 27/03/2010 02:03:25

Who doesn't remember "Scooby Snacks", the funky alternative rock megahit written by Fun Lovin' Criminals back in 1995, or the uber cool, chilled out lounge rock album "100% Colombian" released back in 1998? Probably the fewest of the new generation, but me being a quarter of a century old now, yeah, I was there when these guys were dominating the charts around the change of the millennium. Since then, they've been so low profile (read: put out crappy albums) that their popularity was in free fall until they hit the ground, but apparently not at terminal velocity. It has been five years since the last one, but the funny criminals are back with a new record called "Classic Fantastic", and here's what I think about it and the band after 10 years break from listening to them.

Opening track "Mars" is horrible. Really, really horrible. The whole "where party at? Mars. Where the girls at? Mars. If the party's at Mars. Then get your ass to Mars" lyrics delivered in a hip hop & RnB combo represents everything that's wrong and terrible about those two genres. Luckily, from the first moments of the title track, FLC are back playing their Blue Brothers, black suit and black sunglass defined lounge rock that you'll find underneath the definition of 'cool' on your Websters dictionary (or google define:cool if you're savvy). "The Originals" comes next with some heavier guitars, effects, samples, and the same alterna-rock platform that made "Scooby Snacks" such a megahit back in the day, deceivingly making the listener believe that FLC still have it in them, popular today or not.

But tracks like "Keep On Yellin'" and "How Low" tell the opposite story. They are almost completely hip hop with funk and lounge in a minuscule minority, which means that the band fails to capitalize on their biggest strength: the funky lounge rock sound that no-one can do better than them. Check out "Mister Sun" or "Jimi Choo" for two good examples. So it's too bad that there's so much hip hop and RnB on the album. I know that hip hop is an inseparable part of FLC, it's not going anywhere, but there's such an overload of it on this album that I can't but hate the band for going in this direction instead of more funk or more lounge. Listening to "Classic Fantastic" makes the listener feel disappointed, because there are so few parts where they play to their strengths. Because when FLC play alternative, funky, loungy rock, you'll be hard pressed to name a single band better at mixing those together with hip hop and RnB. It just doesn't happen often enough on this record to make me rate it any higher. At this point in time, it makes me think of FLC as a band that were once on a major label a decade ago, and have since almost completely faded out to obscurity.


Download: The Originals, Classic Fantastic
For the fans of: The Streets, Beastie Boys
Listen: Myspace

Release date 01.03.2010

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