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New York trio Fun Lovin' Criminals first made an impact back in 1996 with the release of their since acclaimed debut LP Come Find Yourself. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the monumental debut album, which catapulted three New Yorkers into British stardom, with their hip-hop, rock, blues combination. It was unlike anything that preceded it, and to be honest nothing's really come close to replicating their vibe since, the FLC trio are a truly unique bunch of musicians.
The hillbilly rock/NY hip-hop combination is immediately showcased with the anthemic The Fun Lovin' Criminal. Huey Morgan's charismatic, witty vocals have kept a continuing draw to FLC's work, and Steve Borgovini's (who was replaced in 2003 by the equally fantastic drummer Frank Benbini) ultra-solid percussion is the backbone to the LP's success. Multi-instrumentalist Brian Leiser (aka Fast) lays his eclectic, virtuosic touch across Come Find Yourself too; the chemistry between the three original Criminals was key to the success when it was first released, and it sounds just as fresh two decade's on. From the subtle, soulful The Grave & The Constant to the powerful, modern classic Scooby Snacks to the somber Methadonia, the album shows a versatile, polished skill set, and it's easy to see why British audiences took to it so readily.
The second disc of the four features a selection of clean versions and various mixes (or remixes) of various tracks on the original tracklist. We also get the excellent well known b-side Blues For Suckers. Stephen Lironi's 12" mix of The Grave & The Constant is a great find for the hardcore fan, with his funky organ, and more danceable drum sound making it stand out from, but remain on-par with, the original LP version. The latin, hazy 20MG version of Scooby Snacks is excellent too, and the Dub gives it yet another new life. A countrified switch-up of The Fun Lovin' Criminal serves as another example of the versatility the three piece show; even when altering the vibe of their well known tracks it's refreshingly entertaining, and it's certainly not like there's a drop in quality.
Formed in the early nineties', Fun Lovin' Criminals are perhaps best known for their 1996 release 'Scooby Snacks'. This is the trio's sixth album and they are currently promoting it on UK tour which will be followed by further dates around mainland Europe.
The FLC have long since had an air of cool about their music and it is very much something continued in 'Classic Fantastic', as they manage to create a soundtrack to a relaxed summer. The title track has a retro feel livened up by a brass section, while 'She Sings At The Sun' has an effortless charm. It's not all about kicking back though, with 'Mars' being an irresistible electro-funk hybrid and 'We, The Three' being a likely floor filler, but FLC are at their best when they set themselves into groove mode, as evidenced on 'Keep On Yellin''. The album finishes strongly in the shape of R'n'B influenced 'Rewind' and the likeable nostalgia captured by 'Mister Sun', leaving a considerable reminder of how good the band are at what they do, even if their chart bothering days are unlikely to return.
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