Fun Lovin’ Criminals – Bag Of Hits

Album Reviews by Mark Bayross and EDF

Review by Mark Bayross

If ever a band could turn out an entertaining greatest hits retrospective it’s these three New York lounge kings. Led by the effortlessly charming Huey Morgan, a man so cool he would probably remain unfazed by the sound of the four-minute warning, the Fun Lovin’ Criminals have been turning out hit singles since their 1996 debut album COME FIND YOURSELF.

Opening with their signature tune THE FUN LOVIN’ CRIMINAL, BAG OF HITS serves up a number of tunes that have made the Crims household names – the Barry White-tribute LOVE UNLIMITED, the rocking KOREAN BODEGA, the beer-ad-soundtracking LOCO and their biggest hit to date, the brilliant, not-about-drugs-honestly-officer SCOOBY SNACKS.

The rest of the tracks more than stand up in this illustrious company, with slow-burning tracks like KING OF NEW YORK, the melodic COULDN’T GET IT RIGHT, and the jazzy, sax-fuelled UP ON THE HILL evoking the heady cocktail of Brooklyn gangster cool that the Fun Lovin’ Criminals have made their own. They finish the singles line-up with their recent cover of Louis Armstrong’s WE HAVE ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD, a song just made for Huey’s laid-back delivery.

But that’s not all folks; BAG OF HITS comes with a second CD of remixes, four of which are previously unreleased, plus a remix of KING OF NEW YORK by Consolidated’s Jack Dangers, of all people.

So, 27 tracks of effortlessly cool party music, guaranteed to get you boys and girls smooching in no time. An offer you can’t refuse…

5 stars

Review by EDF

It’s not a good sign that when a group is three albums and one worth of odds and sods into their career that the next thing we see on the shelves is a greatest hits package. Whether it’s just that the Fun Lovin’ Criminals have signed a 5 album deal with EMI is something that we will find out at a later date. In the meantime, we can enjoy an overview of a group that decided to do things their own hip and smooth style.

If you have liked the FLC at some stage but you were never quite sure which album to buy, then this compilation is the one for you. Starting off with THE FUN LOVIN’ CRIMINAL, this sets the scene for the sort of behaviour we can expect from these street-wise bad boys, “see I rob banks, I pull pranks, sometimes I eat franks and knishes, best wishes, I’m vicious but here I am again like CNN. Delivery my friend.” The track that brought the FLC to people’s attention was SCOOBY SNACKS, which cleverly used sound bites from Quentin Tarantino’s RESERVOIR DOGS and PULP FICTION. This track will no doubt feature in any list of the best tracks from the ‘90’s and very few people would dare disagree with its inclusion. Other highlights include SMOKE ‘EM, “Smoke ‘em, smoke ‘em, smoke ’em, smoke ‘em if you got ‘em. If you ain’t got ‘em, then you hit rock bottom, and the cheeky BIG NIGHT OUT.

The fact that the FLC’s songs border on lounge bar jazz with a light sprinkling of rap only proves the point that Huey and the boys have got their mix just right which is visibly obvious by the number of loyal fans that turn up for their electrifying gigs.

As an added incentive, a limited edition second CD entitled ‘Remixes’ makes the purchase well worth. We are treated to two KING OF NEW YORK’S mixes; one is an ambient mix while the other slows the pace right down. RUN DADDY RUN is given more of commercial mix, making the FLC sound more like gangsta’ rappers. Not all of the mixes work as Mark Berkley’s mix of BUMP just drags out to the point of putting the listener to sleep. Luckily this is the only daft mix on this second CD as tracks like LOVE UNLIMITED gets down deep, dirty and sexy as a person can get in bed and the Rockamental Version of SCOOBY SNACKS give it a bit more attitude with the main guitar riff turned up all the way to 11.

BAG Of HITS is a timely reminder that bands as diverse as Fun Lovin’ Criminals are very few and you might as well come along and enjoy the ride while they are still around.

5 stars

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