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Goldie Lookin' Chain - Asbo 4 Life

Goldie Lookin' Chain, Asbo4Life

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

WELSH hip hop crew Goldie Lookin’ Chain occasionally appear to be channelling the raw power of The Beastie Boys’ Licence To Ill with their latest album, Asbo4Life – but still fail to be taken really seriously.

Part of this is down to the fact that they knowingly aim to subvert the hip-hop genre with a great deal of humour, and partly it’s because their crazy Welsh accents continue to sound at odds with the medium.

Mostly, however, it’s because their songs just can’t cut it. They broke through as a bit of a novelty act and their songs struggle to break beyond that description. While they exist to have fun, the joke seems to be on them more often than they would like.

Admittedly, Asbo4Life is a vast improvement on previous albums that’s even adventurous enough to peer beyond hip-hop boundaries for inspiration and invention. But their DIY style and lazy boy delivery now feels more stale than cool and there’s not a great deal to recommend the LP.

Former single By Any Means Necessary is one of the few successes, courtesy of a rocking pop chorus that benefits from support vocals, while album highlight Nothing Ever Happens thrives on the meaty central guitar riff that permeates the childish lyrics and gives it that aforementioned Beastie Boys feel (a la Fight For Your Right).

The spirit of All Saints drifts over the poppy piano chords of final track New Day, albeit embellished by a thumping back-beat. But such moments are the exception to the rule…

When they enter more electronic territory and really, really take the piss they become less engaging no matter how knowing they appear. Tracks like Rollin, Garlic Bread (with its Gallic influence) and Space Police just don’t cut it and are more annoying than engaging.

Asked what inspired the new album, the group’s main writer, producer and mixer, Rhys Hutchings, aka P Xain, told CMU [the daily news bulletin for the UK music business]: “Mainly curry, weed and the constant wish it was summer, especially during summer.”

Sadly, Asbo4Life only contains the odd track to spice up an otherwise forgettable mix.

Download picks: Nothing Ever Happens, Apathy, By Any Means Necessary, New Day

Track listing:

  1. Mr Fahrenheit
  2. Everybody Is A DJ
  3. Disguise
  4. By Any Means Necessary
  5. Welcome To Germany
  6. Apathy
  7. 3D Superwoofer
  8. Nothing Ever Happens Round Here
  9. Space Police
  10. Rollin’
  11. Strobe Lights
  12. Unemployed And Overdrawn
  13. Garlic Bread
  14. New Day