There's just no respect any more. For spelling, or anything else....
There’s just no respect any more. For spelling, or anything else. ‘Mimosa’, the [a]Fun Lovin’ Criminals[/a]’ B-sides album, is all ‘schmoove’ moves: poolside-listening versions of hits like ‘Scooby Snacks’ and ‘Bombin’ The L’, plus Campari-sipping covers of Louis Armstrong and our Frank, God rest him. The word ‘lounge’ is introduced early.
A quick look at the figures tells you the whole job stinks: of the 11 tracks, three are crisp, new cocktail umbrellas and eight are bits of old rope. You suspect there’s a tang of unwashed hands in the peanut bowl.
You’d be right: a lot of ‘Mimosa’ is piss-poor. In Criminal hands, ‘We Have All The Time In The World’ feels like a life sentence, despite – because of – the Latin lapdancing frisson imposed on one of the most dignified songs ever sung. By the time the old standard ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’ stumbles in, amiably waggling a cigar, it’s clear that Huey may be able to do many things – hold up banks, grow facial hair – but he can’t croon for [I]macaroni[/I].
That job goes to unlikely bon viveur Ian McCulloch on Sinatra‘s – God love him – ‘Summer Wind’. Whenever Huey tries it, though, as on the schmoove version of ‘Crazy Train’ (an ’80s hit for that well-loved Sicilian pin-up, Ozzy Osbourne), the vibe is no longer potted palmetto and hair wax: it is headband, it is Mark Knopfler, and it is Dire.
Happily, though, the Criminals‘ own work takes to the piano-bar like a moll to a man of honour. The schmoove ‘Scooby Snacks’ goes all south of the border, while the muted brass of ‘I Can’t Get With That’ and the loving ambience of the instrumental reprise of ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’ hints at a lightness of finger… sorry, touch. ‘Mimosa’ says these boys love their mothers and the music of their day. It’s a pity, though, they don’t have more respect for its subtleties.