Mark Ronson & The Business Intl.
My new favourite thing is the latest Mark Ronson album. You may have seen or heard the singles Bang Bang Bang or The Bike Song, big pop songs, somewhere between the New Romantics and Daisy Age Hip Hop. Well the album is more of the same, only bigger.
There’s an army of guest vocalists, including Boy George and Simon Le Bon (accompanied by Nick Rhodes with a classic Rio era synth arpeggio). There’s also an army of songwriters, and those two things combined lead you to think that it might just be an album by committee. But it doesn’t sound like that. It’s covered in synths which give it a definite sound across the album; and the songwriting is strong and with enough identity that this could be the work of a proper band.
Influences? I mentioned that it’s like something between the New Romantics and Daisy Age Hip Hop? Well it is, head on collision time in places; but there’s also a vaguely 60s psych feel to some of it. It reminds me a little of Gnarls Barkely; it also sounds like what you imagine Gorillaz would sound like if Damon gave in to his secret Duran Duran obsession.
And it also features Rose who was in The Pipettes. She sings on several tracks, and sounds great. Probably my favourite track is one that she co wrote and sings lead on, with the other writer and vocalist on the track Alex Greenwald (no, me neither but apparently was in a band called Phantom Planet and did the cover of Radiohead’s Just with Ronson), called The Night Last Night. It’s a great track, calling to mind the best of The Pipettes if they were covering The Four Season’s Beggin’.
I also love the tune with Boy George, which I’m posting below; this track has a lovely little groove, and the guitar break in the middle is so Culture Club it’s almost funny.
Maybe not the most perfect album ever, but certainly a much much better album than you’d expect, a lot of fun and some good tunes that I haven’t been able to stop listening to all day.