Hollie Cook and Prince Fatty, Prince Fatty and Hollie Cook. The daughter of a punk rocker and an analogue manic, a vintage fanatic and the voice of an angel.
These two have a new album together – Twice. It was supposed to be released in June, but for some reason Mr. Bongo decided to drop it earlier than expected. And what a great surprise. What an exquisite gift to me or any music aficionado for that matter.
On Twice Prince Fatty and Hollie Cook take a partly different path where they explore a hybrid of vintage reggae and gritty disco with grand strings arrangements, pulsating percussion and Giorgio Moroder-styled pop.
It’s damn infectious and at times almost angelic in its moods. Hollie Cook’s singing is as usual ethereal and works very well with the lush strings.
Nine tracks and over 40 minutes of lasting discofied reggae in its greatest form. Free your mind, take of your shoes and hang on, this is a rollercoaster into dreamy territory.
Producer and engineer Prince Fatty has together with Mutant Hifi a stew cooking. The ingredients are a vicious blend of raw surf rock, intensive ska and cool western sounds.
As explained by the label Mr. Bongo – imagine surf rock pioneer Dick Dale jamming with the Skatalites under Ennio Morricone’s supervision.
On Return of the Gringo the tempo is high throughout. And as usual in surf rock the electric guitar is usually playing the main melody. It’s accompanied by grim horns and strings.
Included are some highly creative slices of musical magic. Listen to the The Good, The Vlad and The Ugly. It’s a ska take on the traditional Russian folk song Korobeiniki, also known as the Tetris song. Or Hava Nagila, a classic Hebrew folk song, with some serious guitar solos.
Return of the Gringo has according to the press material been cooking for some years and is said to be a surf/ska/spaghetti western soundtrack for a motion picture that is yet to be filmed. I’d suggest the producers of this album to pick up the phone and give Quentin Tarantino or Danny Boyle a call. They probably have script up their sleeves that would be a perfect match.
British singer Hollie Cook has music in her blood. She is the daughter of Paul Cook, former drummer in legendary punk band Sex Pistols.
But luckily enough her musical path has headed in a different direction, and has lead her into the arms of Mike Pelanconi, aka Prince Fatty, a talented producer and engineer as well as an expert in vintage recording techniques.
Hollie Cook has contributed on both Prince Fatty albums. And her contribution has been welcome, very welcome indeed. Her tracks Milk & Honey, from Survival of the Fattest put out in 2007, and That Very Night in Dub, from Supersize Me released last year, were among the standout tracks.
Her self-titled debut album bears all of Prince Fatty’s best ingredients – old school sounding reggae and dub without sounding traditional or boring. Check Sugar Water, a smart cut of Scientist’s Dangerous Match 1, a dub version of Johnny Osbourne’s Love is Universal.
The first single of the album That Very Night captures the feeling nicely – pulsating, dark and a bit psychedelic. Her British voice is delicate, breezy and creates an intimate atmosphere.
The album is also hosted by some well-known musicians, most notably George Dekker of The Pioneers and Dennis Bovell. The most prominent guest is however Horseman, a deejay with a style reminiscent of the great Lone Ranger.
This is certainly a truly enjoyable experience from start to finish.
Prince Fatty may sound like a cartoon character. But don’t let the name fool you. Behind this band are vintage reggae champions such as Winston Francis, Dennis Alcapone and Little Roy. The mastermind behind the project is Mike Pelanconi, an engineer and producer from the UK, who has previously worked with a wide range of artists including the late Gregory Isaacs and Lily Allen.
He is labeled as an expert in vintage recording techniques, and when I listen to the sophomore album from Prince Fatty it’s easy to understand why he has earned that title.
The brand new album Supersize echoes from the past, mainly from the early 70’s. It contains covers, re-workings and own material. Almost all tunes have a great vibrant dub vibe. Just check Bedroom Eyes where singer Natty is echoing in and out.
Another thing well worth pointing out is the organic feel throughout the album. The organ work is superb. Listen to The Impressions cover Ain’t Got Time. It’s almost as if Winston Wright or Jackie Mittoo were hosting the session.
The music on Supersize is for real. No samples, no auto-tune, just plain fun.