Thursday, 25 October 2007



A long time ago in a galaxy that now feels far far away bands would regularly release their singles on twelve inch vinyl that would lend breathing space for the inclusion of warped new variations of said songs bringing a whole new art form to music releases.

As we all (should) know Grand Royal was the record label run by the Beastie Boys back when they were at the height of their powers. Initially it was an ultra cool lifestyle magazine best known for its mullet celebrating article (“Mulling Over The Mullet”) before it became their own imprint and eventually a fully blown label with the expected exotic roster of the cool and the hip. Alas it was a thing too good to actually exist and maintain as a going concern in the real world.

Collecting up seventeen remixes and hidden gems the reworked tracks on show range from the hardcore days (“Cookie Puss”) onto Paul’s Boutique (“Hey Ladies”) up to Hello Nasty (“Intergalactic”) with goodies such as “Rock Hard” and “In A World Gone Mad” thrown in for further yuks.

The compilation opens with the Soul Assassins treatment of “So Watch Cha Want” which turns the vibe very Cypress Hill from the off, not least for the guest appearance. Meanwhile “Drum Machine” does exactly what it says on the jar in the most vibrant of fashions sounding like a combination of the Top Of The Pops theme and Art Of Noise. Don’t tell me these guys do not know how to have fun.

Coming up next is the AC/DC sampling classic “Rock Hard” where Newcastle never sounded so good. This song would have been so perfect on their first record beefing up what was something that was perhaps a bit too brat heavy and could have done with a bit of manning up.

From here we get exposed to the “Original Mix” of “Jimmy James” (which I never really thought differed that much from the album version and then unfortunately we arrive at the Fatboy Slim remix of “Body Movin’” which I always thought was a true abortion, a genuinely awful stab at a Beasties track. What were they thinking?

Things get back on track with the disorientating “In A World Gone Mad” which resumes a sense of cool seriousness to proceedings.

In impressive line-up to proceedings gets further improved as Handsome Boy Modelling School do a job on “Negotiation Limerick File”, making things muddy and classic and in essence pulling things back from the sound of Hello Nasty to their more live orientated era of Check Your Head and Ill Communication.

The “Green Mix” of “Sure Shot” offers up a roving jazz bassline that lends the track a new groove and smoothes over the edges. The reworking of “Intergalactic” makes an already clumsy song even more robotic in its movements. You decide whether this is a good thing.

Eventually “Root Down” turns up with its “PP Balloon Mix” which realistically only serves to slow down and hinder the track. Conversely though the “Buck Wild Mix” treatment of “Get It Together” with its Q-Tip guest turn may slow the track down but gives it a dark edge and midnight feel. This works.

Despite the remix the nuisance call classic “Cookie Puss” still sounds like it has the bassline from “Push It” by Salt N Pepa to me. I defy you not to have this likeness taint/tarnish this track for you.

Ultimately it’s a mixed bag. Throughout the beats are good which makes for a good party record but when listened to closely and intently often many of the “classic” tracks have not necessarily been improved upon. A lesser outfit would not be able to get away with this kind of thing. Thank God we’re not flying a plane here.

Thesaurus moment: multifarious.

Beastie Boys
Grand Royal

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