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Electronic - Released April 16, 2021 | London Music Stream

Respected by the underground for his production skills and lauded by the press for his star potential, Goldie's album debut proved he was no fluke on either count. But from the first few minutes of Timeless, new listeners might wonder what's so different about jungle and its first superstar. The sweeping synths and lilting female vocals that form the intro to the title-track opener could be taken from any above-average house anthem. All questions are answered, however, once the beat kicks in. Manic, echoey percussion rolls around and through the song while a muscular dub bassline pounds additional sonic territory. The beat fades in and out, appearing and re-appearing with all the stealth of a charging rhino. The seven other tracks are just as uncompromising, even adopting a hip-hop beat for the R&B flavor of "State of Mind." Though jungle might be jarring for first-time listeners unused to mid-tempo melodies functioning as a bed for hyperspeed beats, Timeless makes it a much smoother ride. © John Bush /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released December 18, 2020 | London Music Stream

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When Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger split from the rest of the English Beat to form General Public, Andy Cox and Dave Steele originally advertised on MTV for a new lead singer for the Beat. When that didn't pan out (although it did work for Wall of Voodoo), Cox and Steele hooked up with the unique and soulful singer Roland Gift and formed the Fine Young Cannibals. Though the trio first hit the mass U.S. consciousness with 1989's electronic dance-pop The Raw and the Cooked, their 1985 debut was a soul-jazz pop charmer that's more low key but every bit as entertaining. Along the lines of early Everything But the Girl (the two groups share a producer, Robin Millar) with a heavier Motown influence, the songs on Fine Young Cannibals are uniformly strong. The singles "Johnny Come Home" (a plea to a runaway that sounds like the Beat's ska stripped down to its tense and obsessive essentials) and "Blue" (one of the more oblique and successful anti-Margaret Thatcher tracks of its era) are terrific, but album tracks like the casually devastating "Funny How Love Is" and the manic "Like a Stranger" (which incongruously ends with a female chorus shrieking "You've been too long in an institution!" repeatedly while Gift tries out his Otis Redding impression) are even better. The album's highlight, though, is a reworking of "Suspicious Minds" (with scarifying backing vocals by Jimmy Somerville) that, while it doesn't replace Elvis' version, certainly takes the song into an interesting new direction. Although often overlooked, especially in the U.S., in the wake of their massively successful follow-up, Fine Young Cannibals is a powerful and satisfying debut. The U.S. CD adds two extended remixes of "Johnny Come Home" and "Suspicious Minds." © Stewart Mason /TiVo
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Pop - Released December 18, 2020 | London Music Stream

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When Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger split from the rest of the English Beat to form General Public, Andy Cox and Dave Steele originally advertised on MTV for a new lead singer for the Beat. When that didn't pan out (although it did work for Wall of Voodoo), Cox and Steele hooked up with the unique and soulful singer Roland Gift and formed the Fine Young Cannibals. Though the trio first hit the mass U.S. consciousness with 1989's electronic dance-pop The Raw and the Cooked, their 1985 debut was a soul-jazz pop charmer that's more low key but every bit as entertaining. Along the lines of early Everything But the Girl (the two groups share a producer, Robin Millar) with a heavier Motown influence, the songs on Fine Young Cannibals are uniformly strong. The singles "Johnny Come Home" (a plea to a runaway that sounds like the Beat's ska stripped down to its tense and obsessive essentials) and "Blue" (one of the more oblique and successful anti-Margaret Thatcher tracks of its era) are terrific, but album tracks like the casually devastating "Funny How Love Is" and the manic "Like a Stranger" (which incongruously ends with a female chorus shrieking "You've been too long in an institution!" repeatedly while Gift tries out his Otis Redding impression) are even better. The album's highlight, though, is a reworking of "Suspicious Minds" (with scarifying backing vocals by Jimmy Somerville) that, while it doesn't replace Elvis' version, certainly takes the song into an interesting new direction. Although often overlooked, especially in the U.S., in the wake of their massively successful follow-up, Fine Young Cannibals is a powerful and satisfying debut. The U.S. CD adds two extended remixes of "Johnny Come Home" and "Suspicious Minds." © Stewart Mason /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released December 4, 2020 | London Music Stream

Man, Uncle Dysfunktional has a really ugly, garish cover -- but such a revolting image is the only appropriate art for a comeback album by Happy Mondays, for there has been no band that epitomized ugly and garish like the X-addled thugs from Manchester. Even when they got colorful, which was a lot, it was with nasty clashes of color. They didn't match and they didn't care, and that same sense of malevolent, cheerful sloth infects this, the first Happy Mondays record since 1992's Yes, Please and Shaun Ryder's first since the largely ignored 2003 project Amateur Night in the Big Top. This is called the Mondays, but most of the band hasn't shown up: only Ryder and his faithful sidekick Bez, plus drummer Gary Whelan, whose presence may be the only reason outside of marketing that this isn't called a Black Grape record. Then again, the Black Grape albums -- particularly the excellent 1995 debut It's Great When You're Straight...Yeah -- felt more like Mondays albums than Yes, Please, for Ryder was the sound and spirit of the group, no matter who was backing him as a band or pulling levers on the board. Given all that, why not reclaim the name? What else is Ryder going to do anyway? He seems to admit that directionless as much on Uncle Dysfunktional, as this isn't a bracing return to form as much as it is an acknowledgement that this kind of lecherous electro-funk is what he does best, so why not do it anyway? That might not make for a kinetic album, but there's a casualness to Uncle Dysfunktional that's appealing, as the tapestries of loops, samples, and synths have a filthy, lecherous quality that's kind of seductive, even if it's not quite irresistible. What is nice is that the Mondays pretty much steadfastly refuse to change -- there are a couple of flourishes that identify this as a 2007 release, such as the blipping electronic bhangra of "Anti Warhole on the Dancefloor," but they're not forceful and they're swallowed out by beats that could have been heard ten or 15 years ago. Again, this doesn't seem like laziness as much as a shrug of "this is what they do," and there's something endearing about that. If only Ryder could have been arsed enough to really write some lyrics -- or even some lines -- that linger in the imagination, Uncle Dysfunktional would have had some longer staying power, but as it stands it's a not-bad-at-all comeback that's at least better than Stupid, Stupid, Stupid and it offers one stone-cold Ryder classic in the gleefully vulgar "Cuntrydisco," a hazy blend of Hawaiian steel, "Bob George" samples, silly voices, and nonsense that's as good as anything he's ever done -- even if it does suggest that he could have done an album as good as this if he only bothered. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Electronic - Released November 18, 2020 | London Music Stream

Jungle's first superstar gets help from 4hero and Doc Scott, while Goldie remixes one himself on this 1995 single. © John Bush /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released July 17, 2020 | London Music Stream

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This American-only release was something of a catchall, drawing together tracks from the breakthrough Madchester, Rave On EP plus the WFL and U.K. Hallelujah remix singles. The result is a good balance between the rambling and shambling funk slop that made the band's name and the more dancefloor-oriented revamps that won the group even more attention. Steve Lillywhite's initial mix of "Hallelujah" serves up something of a Brit music classic, sneaking in Kirsty MacColl's voice around the chorus even while Ryder and company carry out another massive stomp and shake. The next three tracks make up the balance of the Madchester, Rave On cuts, with "Rave On" itself being the winner, with some distinctly Parliament-like backing vocal squiggles. Paul Oakenfold comes to the fore on the final three cuts, working with Andrew Weatherall and Terry Farley on, respectively, "Hallelujah" and "Rave On." It's his solo mix of "W.F.L. (Think About the Future)," prominently sampling Jack Nicholson from the first Batman film, which does the trick -- a full-on rock/acid house classic that easily showed the way for Primal Scream and hordes of others in following years. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Electronic - Released March 20, 2020 | London Music Stream

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Electronic - Released February 7, 2020 | London Music Stream

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Pop - Released December 3, 2019 | London Music Stream

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House - Released November 22, 2019 | London Music Stream

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Pop - Released October 25, 2019 | London Music Stream

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Rock - Released October 25, 2019 | London Music Stream

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Dance - Released August 30, 2019 | London Music Stream

Goldie's debut album Timeless established him as the king of jungle. Spanning two discs and boasting the epic, 20-plus minute "Timeless," Timeless was filled with ambition and invention, and it bristled with the thrill of the new -- it sounded as if the music was being invented as you heard it. The debut was so astonishing that it, in many ways, painted Goldie into a corner for his follow-up, SaturnzReturn. Goldie not only had to equal its consistency, but he had to offer fresh dimensions to the now-familiar drum'n'bass rhythms. Superficially, SaturnzReturn at least delivers in terms of scale and ambition. Running a little over two and a half hours and including a mini-symphony as its first track, the double-disc set is bursting with promise. Unfortunately, it fails to reach the dizzying heights of its predecessor, and its very ambitions feel like burdens. "Mother," the amorphous hour-long pseudo-symphony that comprises the first disc, collapses before the drums are even heard. After 20 minutes of atmosphere, a surge of intriguing rhythms wash up, only to fade away after another 20 minutes to reveal a simplistic, simple-minded symphonic theme that is never developed. If the second disc had been a masterpiece, it would have been easy to forgive the excesses of "Mother," but it suffers from a near-crippling schizophrenia. Divided between harrowing, dark aural journeys and slick, club-ready R&B, the disc never develops a consistent mood and often is sunk by overlong, misguided tracks. With its waves of processed Noel Gallagher guitars and garbled Goldie vocals, "Temper Temper" never quite hits as hard as it should, and it never has the impact of the gutsy KRS-One collaboration, "Digital." Those two vocal tracks are hardly the closest Goldie comes to accessiblity -- "Believe" and "I'll Be There for You" have slick soul textures, with layered keyboards, wah guitars and wailing divas. These soul excursions last too long, and are intercut with dark jungle explorations that have scary rhythmic structures, but no sense of purpose. There are some very provocative textures scattered throughout these ten tracks, and Goldie's skill for hyperactive drum programming can be astonishing, but that astonishment fades quickly since the music never goes anywhere -- it just meanders forever, as the drums slowly lose their power and turn into a tinny din of noise. As a result, Goldie sounds confused, as if he wants to push forward but doesn't know how. With some serious editing, SaturnzReturn would have been a powerful record, but as it stands, its bloated running time and pretentious, formless songs only obscure Goldie's considerable talent. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released July 19, 2019 | London Music Stream

Singles Party 1988-2019 is a compilation record from English pop-rock act Shakespear's Sister. Featuring popular songs such as "Hello (Turn Your Radio On)" and "I Can Drive," the effort marks the duo's reunion after an extensive hiatus. The album also includes two new singles, "All the Queen's Horses" and "C U Next Tuesday." © Rob Wacey /TiVo
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Dance - Released May 24, 2019 | London Music Stream

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Dance - Released May 24, 2019 | London Music Stream

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Dance - Released April 12, 2019 | London Music Stream

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Dance - Released April 12, 2019 | London Music Stream

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Electronic - Released March 22, 2019 | London Music Stream

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Pop - Released December 21, 2018 | London Music Stream

Formerly known as New Atlantic but now named after their female vocalist, Berri released "The Sunshine After the Rain" in 1995; the hi-NRG single was remixed by Dancing Divaz and Two Cowboys. © John Bush /TiVo