Fatboy Slim Palookaville

Norman Cook likes to stick to his ingredient lists when he’s baking up a track. For example, he takes one short, instantly recognisable vocal sample, spreads over extremely happy sounding big-beats, whips up a bridge and fucks with it all for four minutes before serving. Palookaville is easily Fatboy Slim’s least inspired and most irritating album yet. If the opening track, "Don’t Let the Man,” doesn’t make you shake your head in disbelief at its painstaking simplicity, then "Slash Dot Dash,” with its infinitely repeating intonation, will have you reaching for a shotgun to get that stop button pressed! From here on in, things only get worse. There are two embarrassing appearances by Quannum MC, Lateef, a pile of pap and filler and a really horrible cover of Steve Miller Band’s "The Joker,” as recited by Bootsy Collins. Palookaville’s only slight saving grace is Fatboy’s gospel-inspired collaboration with Damon Albarn, "Long Way From Home,” which is even marred by tinny, female backing vocals where there should’ve been a full choir. (Astralwerks)