Goldie Lookin' Chain - Asbo 4 Life
Perhaps we should just be amazed a novelty act reached their fourth album. Asbo 4 Life, from Welsh hip-hop phenomenon Goldie Lookin' Chain, strictly follows the law of diminishing returns (although it has to be said is better than last year's Under The Counter). Maybe the problem is not so much that the joke has worn thin (it's no less relevant now than it was 5 years ago), but that it would be virtually impossible to beat the sheer bad taste, anti-social hilarity of early tracks such as Soap Bar and Your Mother's Got A Penis. It's like giving Bruce Willis a planet to blow up and expecting the sequel to go further.
Familar subjects are tackled, but less funnily. Apathy, Disguise and Strobe Lights, for example, revolve around drug-taking, Unemployed and Overdrawn is a snapshot of binge-drinking Britain and 3D sentimentalises such 80s artefacts as ghetto blasters, tapes and BMX bikes. The heart sinks, also, when you read "samples were replaced with real instruments". One of the GLC's best jokes was the employment of inappropriate and unlikely samples.
Nevertheless, Asbo 4 Life has its moments. They still have the ability to write a funny line ("dress up like The Krankies if it guarantee your weed supply"); you just need to listen more carefully to find them since the humour is less successfully sustained. In its descriptions of wasted lives and Saturday night carnage, the material occasionally even achieves a certain poignancy.
Ultimately, two tracks stand out. Were By Any Means Necessary (accurately described in the press release as "banging") by Kaiser Chiefs it might have wormed its way into popular culture by now. Closer New Day sounds, on first listen, like another break-up song (part modelled on All Saints' Never Ever), but it's actually a more general, and rather rousing, fuck off song, enhanced by swearing, crudeness, the GLC male choir and a speech by Maggot.
And if it all goes tits up? Extend Welcome to Germany by four minutes and stick a beat behind it, thus ensuring Judge Jules plays it between Tiesto and Ferry Corsten all summer in Ibiza.