Fun Lovin Criminals - Classic Fantastic

Mark Salmon 07/10/2010

Rating: 2/5

Classic Fantastic is the latest instalment from New York's own Fun Lovin' Criminals. It's been five years since their last outing yet sadly there's nothing 'classic' or 'fantastic' about their newer work. Long time fans of the band will find this recent album lazy at best or nostalgic at a push.

Classic Fantastic has got everything you've come to expect from the faux Goodfellas; it's beats are hip hop orientated - and even a guest appearance from Roots Manuva, beefed-up and wah-wahed out guitar solos, sample layered songs, and it still retains that Jazz/lounge influence that once seemed to bind them.
The album lack ones main ingredient - The stories. With previous albums the listener was drawn into a highly captivating emotional set of stories covering domestic abuse, bank jobs, evading the law, riding the New York subways and even soul legend Barry White. Yet it seems with this album that they've been livin' outta tha city for far too long as their once gritty and edgy sound has been replaced with a self-produced cleaner more polished one.

Don't worry, its not all doom and gloom, there are still some songs that will get you hitting that rewind button and make your feet tap. Take the title track 'Classic Fantastic', 'Mister Sun' or 'El mano' which all respectively dip into their past influences to up lift the album, without feeling stale or unoriginal. 'We,the three' is the third single to be taken 'Classic Fantastic', yes you heard right third single, and is released to coincide with a UK tour beginning in September in Sheffield. The single is very predictable and typical of Fun Lovin' Criminals with lyrics like “Yeah it's me and the FLC, One more time reppin' NYC” it's no wonder
that this seems like a knock off of their earlier work, Its unfortunate and hard not to compare this album to earlier albums for the simple fact that their recent work has everything normally found with them but this lack's the attitude, which is fundamental in the bands, sound.

The best thing this album does is to remind you that they do actually have great songs in their catalogue; it's just that they all seem to be on their earlier albums and at worst the album feels stale and stuck in the past. Unfortunately this album
is New York's equivalent to, London's 'favourite' mockney Danny Dyer - pleasant at first but then just plain predictable and somewhat contrived.