Goldie Lookin Chain - ASBO 4 Life (Gold Dust Records)

Chris Miller | Thursday, 19 March 2009

Goldie Lookin Chain - ASBO 4 Life (Gold Dust Records)
Goldie Lookin Chain have been a cult institution since their arrival on the mainstream in 2004 - but the band were surprisingly dropped from their record label before the disappointing third album surfaced.

This record starts with the funky 'Mister Farenheit'. Featuring a bass guitar-like beat, it includes prominent appearances from Rhys and Maggot and name-checks everything from chip-and-pin to Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

'Everybody Is A DJ' is a refreshing return to prominence. Beginning like your average Welsh nightclub on a Friday night as simulated drunkards request various dance tunes, it culminates in another funky beat ensconced around intelligent lyrics addressing the current state of DJing. The likes of Peaches Geldof should feel their ears burning from the discreet vitriol packed in this track.

Leading single 'By Any Means Necessary' is the most radio-friendly tune, with a distorted digital bridge jumping in between the electronic backing beat. It's catchy, memorable and as sure-fire a hit as is on the record. Ironically enough it's also the track with the least lyrical ingenuity, but it is an energetic return to form.

'Apathy' is a song that will surprise many people that thought they may have had the GLC’s number. Although featuring the usual mix of incisive lyrics and a catchy beat, it's actually quite sensitive for the comedy tag the band have, even with Mystikal’s solo. Just as '3D', sounding like a chill-out dance anthem with its imposing piano beat, it is more reminiscent and thoughtful then we have come to expect from the rappers.

What comes through on this record, which the GLC have always been able to do so well, is their unique talent for social commentary, none more so than on 'Unemployed'. The track, as you would expect, documents the unemployment culture so rife in the UK and can be rightly compared to past classics like Marvin Gaye's 'Holler', which epitomises the times. 'Nothing Ever Happens', too, does well to tell the stories of current affairs that are actually happening on the streets today.

'Strobe Lights' is, however, more of an indication of the GLC’s gradual shift in the direction of dance.

This is a record that will surprise people who thought the GLC were all about witty humour and references that only Brits will understand. Fantastically relevant with a refreshing mix of trademark tunes and increasingly more socially-aware ones, the GLC have evolved into a band comfortable with making records that actually mean something.

Rating: 4.5/5