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Fun Lovin Criminals - 'Come Find Yourself' by the Fun Lovin' Criminals

  by Peter Allison

published: 22 / 5 / 2009

Fun Lovin Criminals - 'Come Find Yourself' by the Fun Lovin' Criminals


In the latest in our 'Soundtrack to Our Lives' series, in which our writers describe the personal impact in their lives, Peter Allison writes about first hearing New York trio the Fun Lovin' Criminals 1995 debut album, 'Come Find Yourself', in the midst of the Britpop sensation

I shall never forget the year when I would spend a lot of my evenings at a friend’s house comparing new music, and one night in particular when he placed 'Come Find Yourself' in the CD player, claiming. “These guys are you!" He was right. For in the midst of the Britpop sensation, when Oasis could do no wrong (and Blur and Pulp proved to the world that Oasis was not England’s only band), the manufactured pop of the Spice Girls was ats height, and various metal bands all attempted to out shock each other, the New York-based Fun Lovin’ Criminals sneaked into the music scene, and let rip with 'Scooby Snacks'. Quite frankly, people never knew what hit them. With its opening lines of 'Scooby Snacks',(cheerfully borrowed from 'Pulp Fiction' until Quentin Tarantino asked for them back) of “Everybody be cool, this is a robbery”, and its chorus of “Running around robbing bands all whacked on the Scooby snacks”, people instantly knew this was a band unlike any they had heard before. What struck me most about the Fun Lovin’ Criminals was how laidback, chic, and cool they were, but most importantly of all unique. 'Scooby Snacks' sizzled into my mind unlike any other song, but in such a way that I knew precisely where the Fun Lovin' Criminals were coming from. Whilst it cannot be denied that I appreciate a diverse selection of musical genres, up until then individual bands had rarely appealed to me. I felt a distinct case of ennui when witnessing the posturing of bands in self-proclamation that I found verged on the embarrassing. But Huey Morgan, the lead singer of the Fun Lovin’ Criminals, was a genuinely charismatic individual, and all the more so because of the fact that he had never set out to be a musician (On the biopic track, 'The Grave and the Constant', Huey confesses to joining the Marines after finding himself in trouble with the law). 'Come Find Yourself' is the Fun Lovin’ Criminals’ debut album, recorded in 1995 and released the following year. It opens with the self-titled track 'The Fun Lovin’ Criminal', which acts as a perfect introduction to the band and their philosophy of life. 'King of New York', the tale of a sociopath's attempt to free Mafia crime boss John Gotti from prison, is classic Fun Lovin’ Criminals with its catchy chorus line of “La di da di, free John Gotti”, and an iconic track in the musical landscape of New York City. Counter-pointing this tale of criminality was 'I Can’t Get With That',a biting indictment against racism, an issue that is close to Huey’s heart. 'We’ve Got All The Time In The World' is a laidback cover of Louis Armstrong’s song for the James Bond film, 'On Her Majesty’s Secret Service'. This cover offers an insight into Huey’s perception of love, not passion and lust, but one of heartfelt devotion, an ideal I share with Huey. These songs give an example of the diversity of music that the Fun Lovin’ Criminals employ in structuring their lyrical narrative.Their musical range can be broadly described as a blend of alternative rock, hip-hop, and blues/jazz, which fuses together to form a uniquely identifiable sound that no other band has ever been able to match. The artwork on the sleeve superbly suits both the band and the album, with its black and white images of New York adding a visual flavour to the mean streets which the Criminals depcit in their music. The inside overlay folds out to reveal Henry Thomas Buckle’s quote, “Society prepares the crime, the criminal commits it” and neatly encapsulates the feel of the album. The Fun Lovin’ Criminals love of New York was endemic throughout 'Come Find Yourself'. They present a fictionalised version of it with narrative roots firmly embedded in fact, giving the city an almost mythical feel. This is a New York that everyone, including those that have never been there, intimately know from its portrayal in American TV shows and films. It was not until 1999 that I finally was able to see the Fun Lovin’ Criminals in concert (at the glamorous establishment of the Doncaster Dome), and they did not disappoint. I was to later emerge, staggering from the gig, in a state of utter exhaustion, and to collapse on the grass outside as a result of a combination of dehydration, heat, and adrenaline. Although I have seen a plethora of bands since, none have surpassed the Fun Lovin’ Criminals for sheer entertainment value. Despite being infamous for their laidback music, the Fun Lovin’ Criminals gigs are surprisingly frenetic on stage. This enthusiasm has a lot to do with Huey Morgan’s engaging repartee. He has a very down-to-earth presence, and easily connects with the crowd. His enjoyment from playing live is obvious, as he regularly encourages the audience to join in with the lyrics, and ad libs various routines between songs (such as enacting various scenes from popular crime movies). What initially moved me to follow the Fun Lovin’ Criminals was that their music echo convictions akin to my own. Over the following ten years, five studio albums, four compilation albums, multiple tours, and DVD releases later, their core themes remain unchanged. They are laidback, but decisively so, and determined to follow no path save their own, a trait I cannot help but admire. Needless to say, “everything is schmoove.”

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Fun Lovin Criminals - 'Come Find Yourself' by the Fun Lovin' Criminals

Fun Lovin Criminals - 'Come Find Yourself' by the Fun Lovin' Criminals

Fun Lovin Criminals - 'Come Find Yourself' by the Fun Lovin' Criminals

Visitor Comments:-
184 Posted By: scott, north east on 12 Jun 2009
oh i remember that night well..

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Interview (2009)
Fun Lovin Criminals - Interview
Peter Allison speaks to Huey Morgan from the much acclaimed Fun Lovin' Criminals about his group's unique merging of musical styles,the band's beginnings on the club scene in New York and 'Classic , their upcoming sixth album

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