I first discovered Come Find Yourself in the early 2000s, at a time when I was listening to a whole lot of Beck, G Love and the Special Sauce and Pharcyde. After returning to the iconic album again this week, it turns out they aren’t so unsimilar after all.
The re-release comes as an exciting 3 CD Deluxe Edition boxset to celebrate the album’s 20th anniversary, offering previously unheard material, alternative versions, live recordings and instrumentals. Come Find Yourself is an album unlike any other of its time and it was seminal in its merging of styles; blending golden-era hip hop with wah wah guitar, disco grooves, trip hop elements, movie samples and heavy rock n roll riffs. Tracks like The Grave and the Constant and King of New York boast a cool, lyrical effortlessness as frontman Huey Morgan weaves his vocals through layers of hip hop samples and bass grooves. The sound of faintly tweeting bids introduce I Can’t Get With That, before a steady boom-bap drum and guitar set the rhythm throughout the catchy, flowing track. Huey teases and gently murmurs his lyrics, playing on the irony of the political message throughout the song, ‘how we gonna get them out, how we gonna vote them out?’. This is just one of the many tracks on the album which will make you want to leave the British winter behind for a road trip along a sunny strip of American highway. The roof rolled all the way down.
This re-release is also a real gem for those who’ve become acquainted with Fun Lovin’ Criminals iconic, laid down style in Come Find Yourself and are curious to discover what other tricks the trio have up their sleeves. Discs 2 and 4 provide some fantastic rarities and alternative versions including ‘Scooby Snacks’, ‘Fun Lovin’ Criminal’ and ‘King of New York’, all of which show the humour and charisma of the band, who re-invent these tracks so innovatively that they take on a whole new feel. Scooby Snacks (20 MG Version) is miraculously transported onto a spaghetti western set, injected with chills straight out of The Specials ‘Ghost Town’ and topped off with a Nightmares on Wax trip-hop style twist. In Fun Lovin’ Criminal (Hee Haw Version), Huey Morgan takes on the mysterious persona of a red-necked Johnny Cash, while King of New York (#1 Of The Secret Service Mix) spirals and shimmies into disco-territory, with late-70s groove licks and a quick, funky hi-hat sound that would tickle the toes of any B-girl, B-boy or disco fan.
The Fun Lovin’ Criminals have it down. Their produced work is clean, undeniably cool and textured with the band’s eclectic influences. Their live versions are raw and unapologetic, emphasizing their passion for playing live rock. The Fun Lovin’ Criminal (12th November 1996) is dedicated to, ‘the vicious kids out front’ and its gravelly guitar reverb punches out as Morgan, Leiser and Benbini give it all they’ve got. Come Find Yourself (19th July 1996) is performed with a similar rebellious, mischievous energy, this time darker, as Huey murmurs, ‘it’s you, it’s you, it’s always been you’ over the drive of the bassline.
‘Come Find Yourself’ will be reissued on the 19th February 2016. Head over to the Fun Lovin’ Criminals website for their UK tour dates throughout February