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Yahoo! Music Album Review


Generation - Audio Bullys

(Friday November 4, 2005 5:16 PM )

Released on 31/10/05
Label: Virgin Music

"We're gonna take it in a new direction…"

Oh yeah? If the opening statement on this, Audio Bullys' second outing, is anything to go by, then it's safe to assume that all the gears on their car are like the stereotypical WW11 Italian tank: stuck in reverse. If house music once sounded exciting, hedonistic and refreshingly new then in the hands of Audio Bullys it becomes tired and creaky, a refried mash-mash of old ideas and themes that have come to resemble a techno bubble'n'squeak.

But wait, what's that sound..?

"Generation" is much like listening to the ramblings of an ageing E casualty, the kind of geezer whose prematurely wrinkled face and toothless smile is curtained by a shock of straggly grey hair while his running nose suggests an ongoing case of media flu. "Keep On Movin'" - a track that builds around a sample of Steely Dan's "Midnight Cruiser" but bizarrely resembles The Charlatans' "My Beautiful Friend" - sets the scene as vocalist Simon Franks, drawling in a Cock-er-nee accent that makes Dizzee Rascal sound like an Old Etonian, laments, "I loved them days so I look back again/ the club scene was bangin' at the time/ house'n'garage'n'pills'n'white lines…" Yeah, right…fings ain't wot dey used ter be, eh?

Shhh…there! Can you hear it.?

There's nothing here that Renegade Soundwave weren't doing far, far better in the early 90s with their claustrophobic beats and tales of urban paranoia. Indeed, Audio Bullys labour under the impression they've got something to say abut metropolitan life but despite such lofty ambitions fail to even begin to scale the heights of say, Underworld's "Dirty Epic".

But it doesn't stop there. "EQ-ing" desperately wants to be The Chemical Brothers as its acidic beats, bleeps and squeaks walk gingerly in the footsteps of their infinitely more creative forebears as elsewhere, Audio Bullys' collaborations smack more of desperation rather than an attempt to pull disparate influences together to create something new; Roots Manuva is a wasted opportunity on the moribund "Made Like That" while the collaboration with Suggs, "This Road", is exactly like you'd expect it to be - a cor-blimey-guv knees-up played on a Bontempi home organ.

"Generation" is such a backward-looking piece of work that it's as if it was frozen and crystallised in 1995 only to be defrosted a decade later, and it's impossible to suppress a smirk when Simon Franks utters, "The future looks much brighter than those bad yesterdays" on "Get Myself On Track".

What's that sound? That's the sound of a barrel scraping and a career being flushed down a toilet.

    by James Marshall

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