Album: Fun Lovin' Criminals <!-- none onestar twostar fourstar fivestar -->

Livin' in the City, SANCTUARY
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The Independent Culture

Business must be booming for the Fun Lovin' Criminals, if reports of them recording this album on their yacht moored in the Hudson River aren't just promo flim-flam. Like 2003's Welcome to Poppy's - and for that matter, their entire output - this new collection is a love letter to New York, albeit one lacking the cautionary tone of earlier songs such as "Stray Bullet". Instead, Huey and his chums focus on the more positive aspects of their home town - the inexplicable appeal of "how I feel when I walk my dog at four in the morning". Their effusive testimonials reach an apogee on "Where Do I Begin", which effectively recasts the Love Story theme in the context of the Naked City, with Huey suggesting we "drag the river for my soul". But after a while, their Big Apple-centrism palls - it may be the graceless rap-metal grind about living in the projects, "Is Ya Alright", or possibly the bullish "City Boy" - so it's a relief when they shift their gaze to other matters, especially the treasonous murmurs of "Gave up on God": "Since 1945 we just threatened to bomb 'em/ But now they bombin' back, and still we ain't got 'em/ You say 'never forget' - we have forgotten." Musically, too, it's the same formula as before: mellow, laidback grooves spiced up with flavours from Jamaica, New Orleans, Mexico and Philadelphia. Business as usual, in other words.

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