Backpackers Union Keys to the Studio

I really wanted to like the newest project from the Fax 4 family but much of this rushed compilation is marred by mediocre beats and rhymes. It’s slow to start, with track five, "Light It Up,” being the first track to grab any attention, thanks to Jus’s fun production, which combines simple piano and flute with that catchy siren sound made popular by Muggs and the Soul Assassins. There’s also too much R&B for my liking but Bree, Tony Talent and Jordan Croucher are often the stars of the tracks they appear on, although the quality of those tracks depends on whether the producer ends up providing the typically stale R&B backing or drops something unique, like Dr. Syn’s synth-heavy "Keep It On the Low.” Still, scattered throughout this collection are a few wicked songs that are worth a listen. Along with the two already mentioned tracks, standouts include the Jus-produced "Bring It Back” and "Rhymin in Public,” the speakeasy production of J Rich for "We Call the Shots” and Litterbug’s hard-hitting production on "Last Call.” Hopefully they put a little more time and focus into the next BPU project, which is rumoured to already be in the works. (Independent)