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Mark Ronson & The Business Intl – Record Collection

Mark Ronson & The Business Intl, Record Collection

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 5 out of 5

HARD to believe but Mark Ronson has his critics and suffered a bit of a backlash post Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen career-making success.

But if any proof were needed that he is one of the most fearlessly inventive and downright coolest music-makers currently working in the business, then third album Record Collection provides it in emphatic fashion.

Featuring collaborations with a diverse range of singers and musicians, the LP is a bravura celebration of all the things that Ronson holds dear: from high class production values to mash-ups of styles.

Hence, pop collides with hip-hop, and ‘80s icons jostle for position with new cool cats. It’s a mixture of songs and styles that gives rise to countless pleasant surprises, and which gets better and better with each listen.

Ronson and company have already treated us to two tasters: the hip-hop funk of Bang Bang Bang,which put MNDR and Q-Tip front and centre and, more recently, the psychedelic pop of The Bike Song, which featured vocals from The View’s Kyle Falconer and Spank Rock.

If the former was a cool instant classic, the latter is a joyous romp that takes a typically snappy Ronson vibe and wraps it around some perky, 1960s melodies and layered vocals and rap. Few artists would even think of doing it, let alone dare to try it.

Elsewhere, however, the album is brimming with similarly creative ideas. Somebody To Love Me is a delicious blend of ‘80s elements, piano soul and heartfelt pop that includes a take notice vocal from Boy George, allied with Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt. By the time a typically hip beat is dropped into the mix, you’ll be totally swooning.

Wyatt returns with former Pipette Rose Elinor Dougall for the euphoric synth pop of You Gave Me Nothing, which juxtaposes its head-rush tendencies with some bitter lyrics.

D’Angelo, meanwhile, adds his distinct, soulful falsetto vocals to the hip-hop/synth of Glass Mountain Trust… a floor-filler of huge crossover appeal. It’s made for playing loud and one of the album’s many growers… the military precision drum loops working brilliantly in getting you energised for the dance-floor.

Ronson himself adds some kooky and/or cinematic instrumentals of his own, with the industrious Circuit Breaker arguably the pick of the bunch. But he doesn’t overdo it… ensuring his collaborators remain the focus of attention, for having recruited them he doesn’t waste them.

Pill, therefore, crops up to add a moody sense of 50 Cent over the urgent Introducing The Business, probably the purest form of hip-hop and funk on the LP, while Duran Duran icon Simon LeBon joins Ronson and Wiley for a kick-ass fusion of ‘80s synths and hip hop loops on the title track. It’s a daring mix of styles, which somehow emerges as hopelessly cool.

Rose Elinor Dougall returns with Theophilius London III for the sassy pop of Hey Boy (the type of track that Lily Allen may once have thrived upon), before The Night Last Night finds Alex Greenwald and Rose Elinor trading vocal blows and styles for an energetic final salvo.

It’s a delicious note upon which to end things… and one that’s guaranteed to leave you wanting more. But then that’s long been Ronson’s gift in our opinion. He has his own sense of style and isn’t afraid to exploit it for maximum listening pleasure.

Hence, Record Collection is a seriously hip return that deserves – no, commands – a place in only the smartest, most appreciative record collections. Ronson is an artist to treasure, not deride!

Download picks: Bang Bang Bang, The Bike Song, Somebody To Love Me, Glass Mountain, Circuit Breaker, Introducing The Business, Record Collection, The Night Last Night

Track listing:

  1. Bang Bang Bang
  2. Lose It (In The End)
  3. The Bike Song
  4. Somebody To Love Me
  5. You Gave Me Nothing
  6. The Colour Of Crumar
  7. Glass Mountain Trust
  8. Circuit Breaker
  9. Introducing The Business
  10. Record Collection
  11. Selector
  12. Hey Boy
  13. Missing Words
  14. The Night Last Night