Album: Fatboy Slim

Palookaville, SKINT

Well, this is fun - for a while, at least. There are two things separating Fatboy Slim from the legions of lesser sample-collagists. One is the sheer diversity of sounds and styles he draws on. The other is his knack for putting together the kind of combinations catchy enough to tweak ears outside the dancefloor, devising hooks and riffs that even Great-Aunt Ada can tap her foot to at the wedding reception. Sometimes, it's just a matter of locating a sample interesting enough to withstand incessant looping, as with the hook of "And the sign said, 'Long-Haired Freaky People Need Not Apply'" that worms its way into your consciousness through "Don't Let the Man"; other times, it's a case of finding the equilibrium between the various elements, as on the infectious "Wonderful Night", where a spicy pan-cultural funk groove supports the slinky rap by Lateef the Truth Speaker. On some tracks here, Fatboy tries using real musicians instead of samples - most notably on "Long Way from Home", which features the local Brighton band Jonny Quality; the results aren't, to be honest, as dynamically interesting as his sample-collages, though "Put It Back Together", the West African-flavoured piece fronted by Damon Albarn, has a certain charm.