Written by Fantasma el Rey
Hitting the streets with beats and grooves long thought lost in a seaport warehouse is The Brighton Port Authority’s long-awaited CD release, I Think We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat. Better known as The BPA and recorded under the creative watch of Norman Cook in collaboration with many unique vocalists, these long-lost gems are finally revealed to the public. So join me and uncover just who and what are The BPA.
The story goes that in the 1970s a young Norman Cook recorded these tracks to tape with his mysterious jam band backing various lead vocalists in their portside studio. Rumors of the tapes and the band itself circulated for years until a box containing the tapes was finally found confirming their existence. With some work the tapes where cleaned up and put out on CD.
Then there is the real story of The BPA which is Cook, better known as Fat Boy Slim, put this thing together with the help and vocal assistance of a few of his talented friends. Together they managed to kick out some very danceable jams for the pop/electronica/indie/dance crowd to move and groove to.
The twelve tracks on I Think… move along at a quick pace, laying the beats down in a very enjoyable time of 43 minutes. The time is perfect for those of us that prefer our dance music fix not to last hours on end in marathon rave fashion. The track order is also laid out well. As any good DJ can, Cook has arranged the songs in an order that picks you up with solid up-tempo beats and rhythms while letting you chill and groove to the more mellow tunes. A truly good mix.
Iggy Pop lends his peculiar vocals to the ‘60s soul stomp “He’s Frank (Slight Return),” which leads off the disc with heavy drums and bass supported by funky lead guitars and handclaps. Heading right into “Dirty Sheets” with Pete York on vocals and slowing the pace down a bit, none of the beat is lost and distorted murky-sounding guitar work is added. From there it’s a seamless trip back to solid dance grooves with odd chord-bending guitar sounds and layered vocals by Connan Mockasin while blurred and blended horns twist behind.
And the cycle begins again with another ‘60s-sounding track. This time with Ashley Beedle providing the voice to the heavy island rhythm, ska overload that is “Should I Stay Or Should I Blow.” The disc slows once more with “Island” and bumps it pace back up with “Local Town,” the former featuring Justin Robertson, the latter Jamie T.
The ladies take the next two tunes. Emmy The Great gently leads “Seattle” with her sweet voice. The tune that is laid back yet jumps when the time is right, never overpowering Emmy’s vocals. Martha Wainwright’s dominates “Spade” in a way that has you digging her voice as the ska rhythm keeps you nodding your head and swaying with the beat. The two gentle voices supplied by these ladies add two more highlights to a strong album, carrying the middle section of the CD.
Not that this disc has a weak section as it rounds out with Simon Thornton’s dreamy “Superman,” Cagedbaby’s sublime “Superlover,” David Byrne (that’s right from Talking Heads) and Dizzee Rascal’s horn-filled dance explosion “Toe Jam.” “Toe Jam” is all Byrne as his vocals, like Iggy’s, are noticeable and are controlled by their delivery. And so it goes as the album closes with Olly Hite taking vocals on “So It Goes,” a keyboard-laden track that’s mellow and groovy and ends the CD perfectly, leaving your head bobbing.
I’m not one for too much electro/dance stuff of the Fatboy Slim nature but The BPA I enjoyed and I Think We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat is a disc I’ll be spinning for awhile. My favorite tracks will surly find their way to frequent my play list.