The BPA

I Think We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

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The Brighton Port Authority is yet one more way that Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim, aka Beats International) has found to gather world-class musical weirdos around him and collaborate with them on the creation of funky, hooky, wave-your-hands-in-the-air dance pop. Unlike his other projects, though, this one apparently stretches way back into the 1970s, when many of the rough tracks on this collection were originally recorded. Over the years, Cook and his collaborator Simon Thornton worked with such disparate singers and songwriters as Iggy Pop, Martha Wainwright, David Byrne and Pete York, and though a good amount of this material was clearly added in much more recently (Dizzee Rascal's contribution to "Toe Jam," for example, is clearly not of 1970s vintage, nor does Iggy Pop sound like the young man he would have been back then), there's a sense of anarchic fun to the proceedings that is very much reminiscent of the best music of the '70s and '80s. Cook being Cook, though, the fun is kept under pressure: there's a sense of impending explosion energizing Iggy Pop's "He's Frank (Slight Return)," a crazily careening, Clash-y punk-funk groove behind Jamie T's "Local Town," and a tightly wound Caribbean rhythm underlying Byrne's utterly brilliant "Toe Jam." And Ashley Beedle's "Should I Stay or Should I Blow," with its hooky melody and alternating Latin and ska grooves, explicitly anticipates the Beats International sound to come. Not a single track disappoints.

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