Gary Clail & On U-Sound

End of the Century Party

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On his second album, MC Gary Clail moves away from the stark electro-funk of Tackhead and begins collaborating more closely with artists from Adrian Sherwood's On-U Sound stable, exploring avant-reggae with the help of Dub Syndicate and lending his voice to Barmy Army's bizarre mix of synthetic funk and sampled football cheers. The single was "Beef," a nifty little piece of vegetarian rockers reggae that features a vocal hook lifted from Public Enemy and the gauzy crooning of Bim Sherman. "Two Thieves and a Liar" is an anti-corporate message couched in deceptively smooth minor-key reggae courtesy of Dub Syndicate; "Privatise the Air" features a similar message chanted over Barmy Army's ponderous synth funk. The lightest things get is on "Rave On," a tribute to club counterculture that somehow manages to sound just as political as everything else on the album. But for all of the conceptual heaviness that permeates this program, the overall effect is surprisingly enjoyable. It's not entirely clear how much of the credit should go to Clail and how much to the musicians for that, but they all clearly bring the best out in each other.

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