If the simple release of a track list can make you desire to hear an album, then let Crookers' debut, Tons of Friends, be the barometer for all your pre-yearnings for a good listen. Corralling guests like Kelis, Roisin Murphy, Drop the Lime, Miike Snow and more, the Italian DJ-duo easily eclipsed my highest level of "wanting to hear" way before any tracks were let loose.
Sure they've got loads of lads and lasses in their corner, but how does this all stack up when given a proper twack marking? Let's listen in!
Crookers - 01 - We Love Animals (ft Soulwax and Mixhell) [we honestly don't enjoy this until 2.5 minutes in when it gets mega bassier...C-]
Crookers - 02 - No Security (ft Kelis) [digging deep drums and kelis is in fine raspy form...gotta say bart b more's mix is superior...B+]
Crookers - 03 - Natural Born Hustler (ft Pitbull) [frantic & fiery, pits spits while dudes bend nasty bassline...certified freak-worthy...A]
Crookers - 04 - Let's Get Beezy (ft will.i.am) [oh geeze...there is no reason for this to be on album...sounds like an awful BEP reject...D]
Crookers - 05 - Park the Truck (ft Spank Rock) [2 minutes of repetitive lyrics & spacey echoes...wish spank would have spit more...meh...C]
Crookers - 06 - Hold Up Your Hand (ft Róisín Murphy) [had higher hopes for it but murphy's vocals match the darker arrangement nicely...B+]
Crookers - 07 - Hip Hop Changed (ft Rye Rye) [verging between dubstep & d'n'b this deep ditty uses ryes vocals to carry bland 2nd half...B-]
Crookers - 08 - Cooler Couleur (ft Yelle) [immediately piqued w/ the french lyrics...softer than we've ever heard them hit and it works...A]
Crookers - 09 - Birthday Bash (ft The Very Best, Marina, and Dargen D'Amico) [tropical, fun, and primed for poolside summers...repeats...B+]
Crookers - 10 - Put Your Hands on Me (ft Kardinal Offishall and Carla Marie) [could live without, but will always dance when heard out...B]
Crookers - 11 - Royal T (ft Róisín Murphy) [beat drop at minute mark is sweat inducing...the "junk feeling" line is ace...best cut yet...A+]
Crookers - 12 - Remedy (ft Miike Snow) [piano-driven w/ icy vocals, this is more melodic than anything we've heard thanks to the guest...A-]
Crookers - 13 - Arena (ft Poirier and Face-T) [jamaican riddim carries the weight of this cumbersome track...slipped a bit there boys...C]
Crookers - 14 - Tee-Pee Theme (ft Drop the Lime) [one minute and 40 seconds of vocal tics and tricks...nice change up from big bangers...B+]
Crookers - 15 - Transilvania (ft Steed Lord) [more proof that the boys tend to use female vocals to make a solid cut...i dig this 100%...A+]
Crookers - 16 - Have Mercy (ft Carrie) [wet & rubbery beats lay nicely under ms wilds' smooth tone...forgive me father line is way rad...B+]
Crookers - 17 - Jump Up (ft Major Lazer, Leftside and Supahype) [youll recognize this from major lazer's album last year...we still dig...B]
Crookers - 18 - Lone White Wolf (ft Tim Burgess) [gunslinger beats & ghost town vibe, this smacks us from nowhere & we're not mad at it...A]
Crookers - 19 - Day 'n' Nite (Acapella Skit) [this is cudi being cudi and by that, i mean it's him being silly...& totally unnecessary...C]
Crookers - 20 - Embrace the Martian (ft Kid Cudi) [still the best work cudi ever did, thanks to crookers...we can't hate on it too much...B]
Let me say, that on first listen in its entirety last week during their official streaming listening party, I was floored with the variety of guests and musical tones pumping forth. Credit it to a virgin hearing experience, because when we threw on the album today, something entirely different happened.
Sure there are tons of friends, but there is also a slow start to really getting into the album. Save for the Pitbull feature 3 tracks deep, the album really doesn't showcase the boys' talents until 8 cuts in, when they rope in Yelle for a French boudoir bumper. The majority of songs we favor are those in which they do enlist the support of the female vocals. Maybe it's the feminine vs masculine disparity that they were able to harness, but regardless, each of the womanly-warbled tracks sit high atop our list of best of the album.
As a full album, it's not one we'll go back to very often, save for those few tracks. Take the Roisin Murphy-voiced Royal T; easily a contender for top dance floor filler of the year so far. Intermittent cheers for the dudes on their debut.