It’s only just about been a week since my last review and I’ve been bursting at the seams to write another one. There are so many cool tunes rolling around at the moment that I need to get my thoughts down on paper.
It has actually been quite hard to decide which album to write about though. There’s definitely some shining more than others but on the whole, I’m nicely surprised. I was tempted to write a post earlier in the week but I think to be fair to the albums and give them the same treatment, they should all be listened to for at least a week. Sometimes they grow on you, sometimes not. And with my pile of new albums slowly growing, I’ve had to be good not to just listen to them all in one go.
For this review, I’ve decided to go for Record Collection by Mark Ronson and The Business International.
As is the theme of my blog, for those who don’t know who Mark Ronson is (AND SHAME ON YOU!), he is a 35 year old, English born, producer and guitarist. He’s primarily famous for being a very clever producer and started his life out as a sort after DJ, but he is also famous for just being famous. His parents have a good pedigree and his best mate is Sean Lennon. His first album was titled “Here comes the fuzz” and had a very distinctive hip-hop feel to it. It isn’t the Worlds most famous album but there’s a couple of tracks on it that you will undoubtedly know and will be surprised that Mr Ronson was behind them including “Ooh wee”, “I suck” and “International Affair”. Don’t know them? You will recognise them if you heard them.
He followed that up in 2007 with the awesome “Version” and that’s probably what really launched him into the lime light. A beautiful album of clever covers with lots of horns and some spectacular guests (just think back to Amy Winehouse’s version of the Zuton’s “Valerie”).One for your ‘record collection’… sorry, I couldn’t resist.
So Mark is kinda picking up from where he left off. Not that this is a collection of covers, but it’s like a best-of-bread of Here Comes the Fuzz and Version. There’s a distinct hip-hop feel to this but it has the polish of Version. The first album was rough, and the second was a bit smooth. This sits nicely in between – almost as if this was the album Mark would have liked to have made first.
As with his other albums, particularly Version, Record Collection has a theme and that is drums. Not synth ones (or at least it doesn’t sound like it) but good old real ones. There are big, complex drum beats on just about every track, holding their own and giving some real depth to the album.
As you would expect, there’s no let up here. This is an album oozing cool and it goes from track to track maintaining that. There’s no shortage of headliners to support him either with the likes of Boy George and Q-Tip adding vocals as well as some lesser known individuals. And individual they are with the vocals seemingly picked for their distinctiveness.
One thing I should mention with this record is the music videos that go along with them are equally imaginative. The theme is 70s/80s and you can see that with the Star Wars inspired “Bang Bang Bang” video and the NES/SNES Zelda-esque video for “Circuit Breaker”.
I don’t think this is an instant mega hit and I actually can’t see it being as big as Version. It is a little harder on the ears than that. But it is undeniably a great album with plenty of new ideas and uniqueness to keep you entertained.
I’m going to give this 3G’s (out of 4)
Coming up next, is someone famed for their acoustic wonderment… but are they sticking to form? You’ll have to stay tuned to find.