Various Artists

Crunch Beats

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When an album is called Crunch Beats, the would-be buyer is being led to expect at least a couple of things: first of all, beats; second of all, crunchiness. This album provides the former, mostly in the form of unthreatening house and club rhythms, and is mostly lacking in the latter. Upon closer inspection, though, it turns out that the "Crunch" in the album's title is not so much a descriptor for the music as it is a marketing tie-in: this collection is a collaborative marketing effort between the George V label and the Crunch International fitness chain. The lack of anything challenging is less surprising in that light -- this is functional music, designed to accompany exercise, and as such it works just fine. The opening track is the highlight: a funky and muscular Dan the Automator remix of the hoary 1980s chestnut "Tight" by INXS. After that, the music settles into a nice, pleasant house groove and stays there for about five tracks, among them Kascade's lovely "You Bring Me Up" and so-so offerings from Miguel Migs, Only Paradise and Silicon Boogie. Nitin Sawhney revives the funk groove on "Sunset," but the remainder of the program bumps along in that same old house groove again. Not bad at all, but not essential.

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