Crookers Tons of Friends Review

Album. Released 2010.  

BBC Review

Tons of Friends is 100% party focused, and certain to tear up dancefloors.

Matthew Bennett 2010

Dance music culture moves faster than cat years. Over the last three or so years it became so restless that it lost its attention span altogether, as a mutant strain of music emerged that the blogosphere called crack- or fidget-house.

Which lands us in the back yard of Crookers: two Milanese hip hop heads who preferred to make wonky club tracks with delirious build-ups and insane bass-riddled breaks. Their sound is one that went viral across clubland. 

Debut album Tons of Friends is, in true hip hop style, 12 months late and towers over us as a daunting and dense work. Their biggest hit, a remix of Kid Cudi's Day ‘n’ Nite (which peaked at number two in the UK) only makes an a cappella appearance, despite its dominance as the party tune of two consecutive summers: a rare feat in fast-moving festival circles.

But it’s to Crookers’ credit that they don't chase ghosts here, instead opening up space to feature 25 collaborators across 20 tracks. The roll call of rappers includes Kelis, Pitbull, will.i.am, Cudi, Spank Rock and Rye Rye, and all apply their lyrical licks with vigour.

More unconventional guests include Soulwax, Sepultura's Mixhell, Major Lazer, Poirier and Drop the Lime – who hurl in their studio knowledge – whilst vocal contributions from Roisin Murphy, Miike Snow and, rather incongruously, Tim Burgess are all effectively consumed and assimilated into monstrous club bangers. Such an amount of guests means nearly every track sounds like a lead single, destroying conventional album architecture in favour of full-throttled bounce.

Hold Up Your Hand, featuring a turn from Murphy, shines through with its sleazy German schaffel-beat whilst Cooler Couler sees Yelle enjoy a menacing and boisterous jaunt though pop. One of the absolute highlights is Miike Snow's Remedy: an oscillating piano stomper layered with an old-school rave breakbeat which is a glitchy call-to-arms certain to rip up most dancefloors with filthy aplomb.

Tons of Friends is 100% party focused. If you want four-to-the-floor ghetto bass, sleazy RnB and the balls-out bravado of hip hop slammed onto perverted techno then you are in the right place. It's just a shame it wasn't around 12 months ago to bathe in the laser limelight of its true historical moment.

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