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Crookers Dr Gonzo Review

Album. Released 2012.  

BBC Review

Earworms aplenty, but the Italian DJ duo’s music lacks contrast amidst the cacophonies.

Melissa Bradshaw 2012

Italian DJ duo Crookers, best known for their 2009 remix of Kid Cudi’s Day ‘N’ Nite, make what is best described as ‘whump house’. It cartoonishly emphasises elements like in-your-face basslines and over-the-top build-ups, often leading to a plethora of earworm hooks at the expense of any subtleties. In doing so, they walk a fine line between good humour and brash tastelessness.

Without the host of guest vocalists that featured on their 2010 LP Tons of Friends, Messrs Bot and Phra here venture further into caricaturesque dance territories. Where once they offered savvy, up-to-the-minute tracks like Hip Hop Changed, featuring a propulsive Rye Rye, they now layer on ridiculous breaks and, on Dr Gonzo’s Anthem in particular, nail climaxes as likely to make you writhe with embarrassment as they are to have hoards of hyped-up festival-goers jumping hyperbolically around. (Or maybe it is the thought of these crowds, jumping hyperbolically around, that will make you writhe with embarrassment.)

Either way, the track veers close to the output of Skrillex, or Fatboy Slim, in its single-mindedness, and it would be easy to dismiss Crookers into that category of silly, commercial dance if it wasn’t for their knowing rhythmic references and collaborations with various European dance names of great repute. Hummus features Hudson Mohawke and Carli, and is both slick and intricate until a walking squelch, then a whump, and then an ascending whistle build towards an enormous fist-pump-fest. It’s only the fact that the tune refuses to stick to any one of its tangents that represents anything momentarily mirthsome; beyond that, the listener is left seriously disoriented in its deluge of stadium thump.

Such techniques characterise the album as a whole. There are some truly clever, infectious moments – for example, Woh a Do and Get the F­_^K Out My House both rank as standouts in terms of addictive grooves – but it’s a painfully incessant infectiousness on offer, and after too much exposure it’s likely that the average listener will want to run away from the cacophony. So, it’s probably safest to enjoy the joke(s) at home: experienced domestically, rather than on the dancefloor, one can easily escape from Crookers’ world of whump if the cringe factor creeps too high for comfort.

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