The Lo Fidelity Allstars will be the first to tell you that they’re already dead, and that they just forgot to fall over. In over 11 years, the group has six albums to its credit, three of which are original works, most notably 1998’s “How To Operate With A Blown Mind”. 2002 found the group changing their style a bit, with Wrekked Train leaving the group to pursue other interests. What was left over was an album that was very different than its predecessor.
Here’s a review I wrote back in 2002 of “Don’t Be Afraid of Love”:
for the last three months, i have not been able to remove this album from the cd player. this album is a testament to the diversity and skill associated with this group. no other group can successfully blend r&b, rap, funk, and various forms of techno/electronica as well as the lo-fis. ‘What You Want’ is a song that embraces the new lo-fi attitude… youve got to keep on keepin on… ‘Deep Ellum…Hold On’ makes you look around for a phone (listen, you can tell) doing a wonderful job of mixing funk and r&b, ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of Love’ is the epitome of what this group is today, as “we hit the ground running with the new found sound”, ‘Feel What I Feel’ reminds me of daft punk’s ‘digital love’ track. a peppy 80’s, disco-ish, clubbish, what-were-they-thinking type track, but makes you want to get up and move. ‘Cattleprod’ is by far my favorite track on this album, not a sophisticated song, but has all the elements of a get off your [butt] and do something attitude. ‘Sleeping Faster’ is just downright chill, its not hard to hide yourself in the bass-line and miss out on the world for seven solid minutes. the only complaint i have with this album is the placement of ‘just enough’ didnt flow at all where they put it. bottom line… excellent sophomore album (the boutique mix album doesnt count), taking some of the old lo-fi and adding a new taste to it all. extremely diverse group, ‘i just cant stop this….’
It’s fun to find old shit I’ve written.
“Northern Stomp” is… well, it’s… oh fuck it. “Northern Stomp” is my shit, yo. There is nothing out there today that sounds like this album, or this group. The sampling selection is fucking awesome, the funky basslines and corresponding beats fit perfectly. Nonsensical lyrics at times, elements that are completely “lo-fi”, and awesome arrangement is the definition of this album. As someone who has followed this group strong from 1998, I am biased. As I write this, I am aware of my passion for this group works, and how I translate that to anyone who’d be interested in hearing “Northern Stomp” or any of their other material. Know that every review I have written includes the phrase “keep on keepin on”. Thank the Allstars for that.
The entire album tells a story of the past 11 years, and how this group has evolved and continued to perservere. Once tied to the same label as notable Norman Cook (aka FatBoy Slim), they parted ways until Corsair Records picked them up to release “Northern Stomp”. The long and short of this review is that “Northern Stomp” is a good listen. You might not like every track off the top, though as you get more listens in you ought to see and appreciate the sublteties from their amazing ability to blend genres that shouldn’t belong together.
Overall, this album is a 4.75/5. I’m a bit confused by “Smash and Grab”, having heard it as “Speed of Light” previously. The album is also very short checking in at 10 tracks just under 40 minutes, and feels more like an EP than anything else. Standouts are certainly all of them. Notables, would be “I Know I’m A King”, “Your Midnight”, “As Good as Dead” and one of the most beautiful songs I think I’ve ever heard, “Valentines Boast”.
Seven years is a long time to wait. I’m glad I’ve waited for this, because once again “I just cant stop this…” Quoting the Lo-Fi’s themselves, find a way to buy, download or steal this album.
keep on keepin on