...pop music is a funny old game, and 'Generalisation' is at least a shot on goal.
Jolly, portly old [a]Midfield General[/a], he is the spirit of the Big Beat Boutique made flesh. As the boss of Brighton’s Skint Records, the General, aka Damian Harris, wants you to know that – hey! – anything goes, around here. Fun-lovin’ breakbeat! Crazy techno! Floppy clown shoes, and comedy wigs! And… Lord, make it stop…
But have faith, if not in the enduring credibility of big beat, then in the General‘s unfaltering ability to pick a good tune – lest we forget, Harris was the man to sign Fatboy Slim.
Skint Records was a success because it aimed directly at the dancefloor, carved out its own sound, launched a legion of imitators, took the battle to America, and won minor victories on its own, quintessentially British terms. ‘Generalisation’ is another album in its fine tradition.
Lovably, Harris clearly isn’t in it for the money – just the continuing fortunes of Brighton & Hove Albion and a happy dancefloor. His recent ‘On The Floor At The Boutique’ compilation unveiled a spirit as eclectic as it was fun-loving, jamming the headfuck acid of LFO next to dusty soul classics of yesteryear with flagrant disregard for the rule book.
, purrs the vocal sample.
Which says it all, basically. And the General‘s topspin often keeps him on top of his game. The cut-up dirty acid flashback of ‘You Take’, the Elvis Costello-sampling house bruiser ‘Coatnoise’ are sly enough to wrongfoot the naysayers who accuse Harris of being ‘novelty’.
Curiously, though, the inclusion of the General‘s signature, the long-in-the-tooth ‘Devil In Sports Casual’ seems cheeky, and unnecessary – especially since he’s chosen to unveil his latest anthem, the squeaky-bassed tech-house of ‘General Of The Midfield’, by a shred, the best track here.
There are, of course, two tracks that beg to be Punctuated! By! Exclamation! Marks!: ‘Midfielding’ features stream-of-consciousness narration from comic Noel Fielding of surrealist duo Mighty Boosch, who offers a tale of Northern root voles invading Africa in a giant wooden shrew – very funny the first time round, increasingly grating from thereon in. Meanwhile, ‘Drunk Country’ (sounds like country music, played by someone that’s drunk) is branded a little too clumsily with the novelty stamp of the Space Raiders to really measure up.
So at the end of the day, Brian, Harris isn’t quite focused enough to lead his team from the midfield. But pop music is a funny old game, and ‘Generalisation’ is at least a shot on goal.