Album Reviews

The Loose Cannons – Make The Face

(mca) UK release date: 12 July 2004


The Loose Cannons are armed with a whole cavalcade of explosive sounds, shooting each one off like firecrackers in debut album Make The Face. For they are the sampler alchemists, the industrial funksters, the dirty disco barons who are currently making clubland grind to their heavy beats on the dance floor.

The infamous London DJing duo Kaiser Saucy and Lord Fader invite us into their debauched world called Cannonia, in which each song is populated with snatches of conversation, phone chats, kids, laughter and quotes, like there’s a party of people huddled round your ears.

Including mixes from hip-hop legends The Jungle Brothers, DJ/producer Mark Ronson and Moto Blanco, Make The Face is an album to get excited about. It’s dance, funk, it’s psychedelic, it’s urban. And all this behind dirty grinding bass lines allied with punchy drum machine beats. Each composition is writhing with sonic snapshots, be they frog-like speaking, robotic clapping beats or a lone SMS bleep. You hear more with each listen.

Superbly evocative lyrics layer the music, defying the mono-syllabic meaningless lines that pervade dance music. In the mellow lounge-funky N44 for example there is “magic scratch card dust on my fingertips” and “alco pop tarts out to play”. And in the sleazadelic Phone A Friend, “Sending valentines to cellphones” captures an astute glimpse of modern life.

While on the whole a dance album, the varying moods take you on a whirlwind ride that rises up in tracks like party-starting recent single I Like It When Ya and simmers in the beatific sexual ballad Confessional.

A definite mood-swing occurs in In Got It All (Wrong) with the unnerving wail of an air raid siren in the background while aggressive drum n’ bass beats underlie a taunting melody singing: “You got jet leg. You got teen angst. You got free drinks. You forget to say thanks”.

Soul-groove debut single Superstars is the best on the album. It’s got a wicked dirty electro bass and its sultry-voiced chorus: “We’ll all be superstars this time tomorrow” rises above a jungle of vocal samples, from someone saying “surprise!” to muffled phone voices and intimate giggles. But The Loose Cannons are also not afraid to dabble in the discordant like in Big Enough, which uses broken breakbeats and off-centre electro claps while an industrial 80’s synth sounds like it’s battling a retro computer game and vocals squeeze out lyrics like: “Just. Don’t. Die. And. Don’t. Get.Old.”.

On the other end of the spectrum is the seventies disco tune Out 4 The Nite with its funky bubbly beat and retro wah wah bass riffs. The singer is “scale-electring around” and bolshily explains “I was only going out for one but there’s fitness around and my buzz coming on”. What seals this deliciously seedy song for me is the intro’s maleguttural voice deeply rasping: “Good God. Too Far. Got the juice. Bring it on me”. If you’re not grooving to this then you’ve lost your mojo mate.

Last track 23:59:59 is slow-beat and winds down the album with its soothing psychedelic funk and honeyed voices singing luscious harmonies. Wait five minutes after the song ends and you’re suddenly listening to another version of Prince-esque second track Nu Beautiful, the last surprise in this superb album full of unpredictable twists and turns.


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The Loose Cannons – Make The Face