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Kraak & Smaak - Plastic People

Kraak & Smack, Plastic People

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

THREE years after their Boogie Angst LP, Dutch dance outfit Kraak & Smaak [ha, ha] return with Plastic People, a better than average dance album that contains a couple of cracking alternative dance tracks.

Featuring collaborations with people like rapper Dudley Perkins, on That’s My World, vocals from rising soul star Ben Westbeech, on Squeeze Me, and lyrical contributions from Mark Brydon (of Moloko), it’s nothing if not eclectic.

But the highlights do stand head and shoulders above some of the more average material, leaving you to mull over what might have been a classic dance album.

Early on, the aforementioned Squeeze Me offers one of the funkiest cuts on the long-player – an upbeat fusion of cracking beats and soulful vocals (from Westbeech) that are delivered with such conviction and gusto that you can’t help but want to hit the dancefloor. James Brown would have been proud to strut his stuff to something this funky.

While an ambitious trip-hop cover version of Man of Constant Sorrow, the bluegrass hit from O Brother Where Art Thou? is a work of pure genius. It shouldn’t work, and constantly threatens not to, but the welcome sense of familiarity that comes with that distinct chorus is both inspired and inspiring, especially when set against some slickly filtered banjos, caracas and low-key backbeats.

There’s a samba-style passion surrounding the sweaty percussion of Cornered which makes it ripe for another dancefloor workout, while a drum ‘n’ bass backbeat offsets some ambient synth stabs to surprisingly soothing effect on Il Serpente.

And moody, slow-building final track To Everyone Who Has ends things on a cinematic note to leave listeners with an overall strong impression.

In between there are tracks that leave you indifferent, or employ overly generic beats and melodies. The more Ibiza/super-club fixated numbers, in particular, strike a bum note, while an odd mix of Italian samples and beats proves ghastly on Enzo.

But thanks to the half dozen or so better tracks – and its two outstanding highlights – Plastic People marks a welcome return for the Dutch boys that’s well worth taking the time to check out.

Download picks: Squeeze Me, Man Of Constant Sorrow, Cornered, To Everyone Who Has, Il Serpente

Track listing:

  1. Bobby And Whitney
  2. Squeeze Me
  3. Plastic People
  4. Enzo
  5. Man Of Constant Sorrow
  6. That’s My Word
  7. Cornered
  8. California Roll
  9. Thinking Back
  10. Il Serpente
  11. Ready For Life
  12. Ain’t Gonna Take It No More
  13. To Everyone Who Has