Album Reviews

Space Cowboy – Across The Sky

(Southern Fried) UK release date: 27 October 2003

Space Cowboy - Across The Sky You’ll be relieved to learn that this album has nothing to do with that other self-styled Space Cowboy, Jamiroquai, although opening track Crazy Talk does have a passing resemblance to the cat in the hat at his least irritating.

This particular Space Cowboy is one Nick Dresti, a protégé of old Fatboy Slim himself, Norman Cook, whose Southern Fried label he records for. Dresti was born in Paris but moved to the leafy suburbs of Surrey at the age of 10. This collision of cultures is expressed in the music on this album – one minute the lush open pastures of the house track Always & Forever, the next, the tight aggressive vibe of the appropriately titled I Don’t Care. Dresti’s first love, however, is French House; that and bizarre remixes (he’s revamped both Steve Miller‘s Round And Round and, wait for it, Paul McCartney‘s Silly Love Songs).

You may already be familiar with Dresti through his airplay hit I Would Die 4 U, a monster dancefloor filler that closes this occasionally exhilarating album in fine style. The track is, of course, a cover of the Prince original, which is no coincidence given that the album as a whole features a mixture of urban styles – funk, soul, house – that characterised The Artist in his most inventive late ’80s / early ’90s period.

Not surprisingly, I Would Die 4 U is one of the strongest cuts on an album that is, let’s face it, something of a mixed bag. Love Is The Reason is another highlight, marrying a sinuous funky groove to an insistent chorus and the occasional Eastern-flavoured sample before taking off into some piano-led noodling. The aforementioned Crazy Talk comes in two versions, the opening acoustic take and a later, rather more frenzied mix that also happens to be the current single. If there’s any justice it should be massive.

Just Put Your Hand In Mine was a strange choice for the second single from this album as, essentially, it’s just filler material, a repetitive dirge that goes nowhere. Prove Me Wrong is a similarly directionless stab at hip-hop that fails to entirely convince while the least said about I Don’t Care, with its mashed up beats and tired vocoder overlay (isn’t it time someone banned those things?), the better. It’s a mess.

If there’s an overall criticism of the album it’s that it sometimes tries to be too clever for it’s own good. But when it all comes together, as on Funky Love, Crazy Talk, Love Is The Reason and I Would Die 4 U, it’s truly inspired.

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Space Cowboy – Across The Sky