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Lo-Fidelity Allstars: Warming Up The Brain Farm - The Best Of

The Best of Lo-Fidelity Allstars, Warming Up The Brain Farm

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

IN MY humble opinion there will never be a better Lo-Fidelity Allstars single than Battle Flag (featuring Pigeonhead). With its ominous echoed chant of an opening, its “your construction smells of corruption” opening line and that deadly beat which kicks in emphatically at about the 50-second mark, it’s a floor-filler of epic proportions.

The moment you hear it, hairs stand up on the back of your neck, especially when Pigeonhead declares “hallelujah” and urges you to “get down on your motherfuckin’ knees”. But it just keeps getting better. Its swirling electric loops, kick-ass beats, gutsy layered vocals and hammond organ providing a hedonistic riot that’s difficult to come down from. It’s dance music at its most exhilarating and one that never seems to age with time.

Indeed, the track was even used during a seminal moment in ER‘s history (when Noah Wyle’s Dr Carter was stabbed), to lend it a killer soundtrack moment as well.

Needless to say, it’s the standout track on Warming Up The Brain Farm, the beat-laden Best Of from the Lo-Fidelity Allstars. But that’s not to say the remainder of the 15 tracks pale by comparison – merely struggle to achieve such giddy heights.

Other highlights come in the form of Kasparov’s Revenge, a funky workout that drops another insistent, booty-shaking beat over some warped vocals, the epic electronica of The All The All and the deeply soulful grooves of Somebody Needs You, which sounds like a bastard fusion of Macy Gray and James Brown as delivered by the vocals of Greg Dulli.

Northern Stomp is a jolly, upbeat romp through electronics and beats, while Dark Is Easy taps into the darker dance sound of the Lo-Fis perfectly.

For those playing catch up, Lo-Fidelity Allstars were originally formed in 1996 by DJ Albino Priest and vocalist Wrekked Train, before being signed to Skint records after an A&R hoopla that followed the band around for much of 1996/7.

In 1998, they released their landmark debut How To Operate With A Blown Mind, a dark and dizzying opus of gonzoid disco paranoia and tower-block soul that forged a unique furrow through the late ’90s music scene. Indeed, such was the impression it made that Mixmag was prompted to declare that “not since Screamadelica has an album mixed lyrical vision, hectic sampladelica and heavyweight funk in such a way that the rock and dance elements are inseparable”.

Ten years on, their influence can still be heard in the likes of Basement Jaxx and The Go! Team even though the hits are fewer and farer inbetween. Indeed, some of the more recent stuff struggles to have the immediacy and impact of their very best work and conforms more with generic dance trends.

But in their prime, the Lo-Fidelity Allstars seriously kicked up a storm and its for this reason that the Best Of is worth checking out.

Download picks: Battle Flag, Kasparov’s Revenge, The All The All, Somebody Needs You, Blisters On My Brain, Dark Is Easy, Northern Stomp

Track listing:

  1. Warming Up The Brain Farm
  2. Kool Rok Bass
  3. Blisters On My Brain
  4. Battle Flag – feat. Pigeonhead
  5. Kasparov’s Revenge
  6. Vision Incision
  7. The All The All
  8. Lo Fi’s In Ibiza
  9. What You Want
  10. Deep Ellum … Hold On – feat. Jamie Lidell
  11. Somebody Needs You – feat. Greg Dulli
  12. Tied To The Mast
  13. Cattleprod
  14. Dark Is Easy

Bonus Disc

  1. Puppy Phat: Number One
  2. Pony Pressure
  3. Blisters On My Brain (David E Sugar Forward Acid Remix)
  4. Lazer Sheep Dip Funk
  5. Voodoo House
  6. Many Tentacles Pimping on the Keys
  7. Bootsy Call
  8. Gringo’s Return to Punk Paste
  9. On the Pier
  10. Vision Incision (Midfield General Mix)
  11. Feel What I Feel (Neil Beatnik Remix)
  12. Taking Fear from Behind