Real world shenanigans getting you down? I got something to lift ya spirits.
Now, a long, long time ago on the Wildebeest I talked about Fatboy Slim and my affinity for Big Beat. It was a musical genre out of the United Kingdom that was most definitely a product of its time, the mid 1990s, where the music was bold, loud, and fast, with futuristic whiz-bang electronic flair and endless bass. It’s nothing but thrills and breakbeats, and that combo still makes me swoon today.
Aside from Fatboy, The Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy, Apollo 440 and others, a group I dug during my big beat phase was Lo-Fidelity Allstars, a Leeds-based group who got my attention with their 1998 debut How to Operate With a Blown Mind. On that record they brought equal parts funk, spunk, and doomsday-esque bombastics to the mix, making for a rather fun listen which got them some minor fame and critical praise.
It took ’em a few years to produce a follow up. Released in 2002, Don’t Be Afraid of Love dropped during the twilight era of big beat, which had begun falling out of style around 2000, and the group was well aware of the shift. To this end the record displayed more maturity from the group, as they shed the wild alter-egos they employed for the first album, and focused on more soul, funk, and R&B influences with less frenzied breaks, but still kept matters funky, fun, and danceable. It’s a terrific party record.
“What You Want” opens the album, and damn is it ever catchy. The breakneck pace, the unintelligible vocals, and the reassuring vibe it exudes is dope. Wait until you get about two minutes into this one, where that mantra hits you: “You’re gonna keep on…keepin’ on.” From there, the track picks the hell up, leading an all-out blitz in the last two minutes and concluding with an AWESOME drum break. What a ride!