Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars

Fuck it! Face facts, you punks! Norman Cook is God.

Norman Cook [I]is[/I] Joe Pesci! Think about it. For a start, he’s every bit as tapped as one of Joe’s pitbull-puppy-with-a-gob-full-of-wasps-type characters. What with his mad theory that Jews, Armenians and Bosnian Muslims have a better sense of rhythm than the rest of us because of the oppression they’ve suffered. I mean – jeez, what a friggin’ LOONY! But the proof is the way that this record starts off really, really boring. ‘Talking Bout My Baby’ is a lo-fi piano dink-donk riff with some Mick Jagger soundalike ranting on about Zoë Ball’s tits resembling “two big ole balloons in a hurricane”. ‘Star 69’ is some bloke swearing over a drum machine and some drain noises. ‘Love Life’ is watery funk-by-numbers, not helped by Macy Gray, and ‘Sunset (Bird Of Prey)’ is Jim Morrison babbling over some incredibly lame elevator muzak…

By now you’re thinking, “Oh no, Normo’s done a ‘Kid A’!” But be careful. Cooky’s leaning over and smiling and saying, “Hey! We’re all friends here, right!” (just like Joe Pesci in [I]Raging Bull[/I]) and then ‘Ya Mama’ comes blasting out over the speakers and – WHAM! – he’s whomped you up the side of the head with a whisky tumbler and – BAM! BAM! BAM! – he’s pounding your fizzog into the glass with berserker gusto! The [I]dirty[/I] motherf***er! It’s ace! True Fatboy concrete handbag-style disco-metal! Yeah! And then it’s the skull-krushing, sledgehammer fuck-funk of ‘Mad Flava’ and Normo’s jabbing a pen into your neck and screaming, “Where’s the big man now, huh?! Ya fuck!” And then, right, on comes ‘Retox’ which is ultra-malevolent ghost music recorded in an abattoir and the Cookster is slamming your head with a car door and going “UH! UH! UH! UH!”. And then it’s the totally amazing ‘Weapon Of Choice’, which is ’60s TV theme music recorded on drugs that won’t actually be invented until the 2060s and Norm’s pumping slugs at your feet and screeching, “Dance! Dance, ya fuckin’ gimp!” And you do – you fucking dance!

Fuck it! Face facts, you punks! Norman Cook is God. He is the King Of Pop. He makes 98.7 per cent of all rock utterly redundant. Now excuse me ‘cos I’m going to stick ‘Ya Mama’ on again and again and bounce around the room ’till my fuckin’ eyes bleed. Ya mooks!

Steven Wells