Public Enemy Bring That Beat Back

While you’d be hard pressed to argue that the message carried by Public Enemy’s more recent releases continues to have anywhere near the impact (or audience) that it once did, what these albums do offer is an opportunity to question the group’s continued significance. With Bring That Beat Back, PE spit out yet another set that makes you wonder: "If someone out there is still listening, is this really what they’re hoping to hear?” This time they serve up remixes of singles taken almost entirely from their last four records. In completely avoiding their many easily recognisable classics, the group escape comparisons between the new interpretations and the listener’s nostalgic memories, allowing the disc to stand on its own as a fairly cohesive collection of funk-infused head-nodders and slightly futuristic b-boy assaults. Mauly T’s gritty synth rock mix of "Superman’s Black In The Building” matches Chuck D’s explosive energy and no-joke lyrics, with its walking, keyboard-created electric guitars and ZAPP-styled vocal accompaniment. Rae & Christian, conversely, take it down a few BPMs with a deep, grooving bass line and sombre key phrase on "World Tour Sessions,” on a disc that offers a surprisingly interesting listen from a still relevant Public Enemy. (Van)