You can hardly go wrong with this mid-price collaboration between half-a-dozen underground dance labels, showcasing seven flavours of outsized beatery for the price of an EP....

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Where Have All The Merrymakers Gone?

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Where Have All The Merrymakers Gone?

YOU CAN HARDLY GO WRONG WITH this mid-price collaboration between half-a-dozen underground dance labels, showcasing seven flavours of outsized beatery for the price of an EP. The artists involved apparently offered their work for free, so it seems churlish to pick them apart like a niggly old Scrooge. Still, it’s a living, so here goes.

The best of these seven tracks combine Day-Glo ’70s funk with electrofied ’80s clunk and revved-up ’90s, erm, spunk. Elite Force’s ‘Call It Brisco (And Why Not)’, for example, is an ear-bashing collision of genres and eras, mud-caked beats and squelchy ejaculations which makes a convincing case for Beasties classic ‘Sabotage’ being the true blueprint for big beat.

Then again, the wibbly-wobbly trundle and belch of Sir Drew’s ‘Potato Feet’ relocates the genre’s lineage somewhere in the vicinity of the [I]Vision On[/I] theme, while FC Kahuna’s robo-shimmy ‘Killing Time On The 15th Floor’ puts in a late nomination for the [I]Knight Rider[/I] title music as secret godfather of all things Fatboy-shaped.

The rest of the album, alas, veers from dispensable to formulaic, as their ornate finery takes on a distinctly muted hue. As a cheap-and-cheerful fling with some low-rent labels, the album works a treat. But for a deep and lasting relationship with this big beat thingy look elsewhere.