Album Reviews

Prince Fatty – Survival Of The Fattest

(Mr Bongo) UK release date: 23 July 2007

Fattest? We’re talking humungous here. Obese beats? Oh lardy, keep piling them on! If you like your reggae fat, wobbling and largely wordless this is for you.

The chunkiest beats roll, wobble and thud from the speakers in this beautiful ‘homage’ to the glory days of early dub reggae. The experiments of audio pioneer King Tubby, Scientist, and more recently Mad Professor with the slap and snap of echo and reverb to thick bass and snare drums conjure up a spatial landscape that could be intergalactic, or like the reverberations of the normal world shuddering around in vivid colours.

In a world where pastiche has become a dirty name with Mark Ronson incurring death threats for his ‘re-imaginings’ of The Smiths, this could be a fatal move to make. But with Mike Pelanconi (engineer on Lily Allen’s Alright Still album) there is a real sense of love living in these tracks that holds a candle up to their heroes but isn’t afraid to dance in the flames.

Featuring a rotating (and rotund) roster of guest vocalists the sweet pipes of Little Roy open Survival for business with Curious that sets things bouncing along on a reggae-lite easy-going vibe. The band themselves are no slouches in the world of reggae, featuring amongst others, Hammond organ from Bubblers, Bukky Leo on sax, the Nostalgia 77 horn section and legendary drummer Style Scott things take on a instant classic feel.

Tracks melt into each other in differing degrees of chunkiness, from the parping trumpet and skipping organ of Meltdown to the more conventional Milk and Honey as fronted by Hollie Cook (new vocalists for punk-reggae legends The Slits) shows a more delicate palette in its sassy feminine props and is reprised with a spacious dub in true old school fashion.

From the sassy sax-filled vibes of Scorpio, to the unashamedly summery roll of Mr Freeze this is an album set to light up stereos for months beyond the fade of the summer sun. Even relationship breakups sound good in the easy-going Prince Fatty’s hands as evidenced by the chirpy Big Man Cry’s sweet “let’s be friends, even though our love has ended,” with its springy guitar figures an cymbal splashes.

While Burial may have the dark and grimy side of dubstep sewn up like a black eye, Prince Fatty is hanging around the bbq with a cheeky smirk and a bounce in his socks. Fat? Keep piling on those pounds. So try this mix of smooth organ, crisp drums and a fat slice of dubby goodness.Throw them diet books away. Skinny beats are for losers. At this rate the Prince could soon be a King.

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Prince Fatty – Survival Of The Fattest