Album: Palookaville
Artist: Fatboy Slim
Label: Skint
Released: 2004-10-04
Summary: For the most part, catchy and fun.

From the deliberately messed up samples of the backing vocals that start the album off, you can tell the overall mood of this album is going to be one of having some fun. While not as good as the slightly more serious You've Come a Long Way, Baby, Palookaville is, for the most part, a joy to listen to.

In songs such as Don't Let the Man Get You Down, Slash Dot Dash, and Mi Bebe Masoquista, Fatboy Slim sticks to his usual formula of taking a single line's worth of vocals and building a whole three to four minute song around them. While these are good, it's his departure into writing whole songs (or at least the music that compliments the guest vocalists' songs) that work best.

Wonderful Night is a great example of this, and in my opinion the best song on the album. It's as satisfying on its tenth listen as it is on its first, and with its full verse chorus structure, catchy vocal and fun sound, it may even be Fatboy Slim's best song since his remix of Cornershop's Brimful of Asha. It's tracks like this that make me think he'd be much better off exclusively writing music to accompany guest vocalists' songs.

One of the other complete songs on this album is the laid back The Journey, with its religious lyric and playful use of samples. Rather than try to mask the fact that his main tool is a sampler, Fatboy Slim has fun with it, drawing attention to the fact. In this track, he slows down a line of the vocal with portamento, and causes the word "I" to be stuttered by quickly triggering it three times. He resists the temptation to overdo it, though, and for most of the song, the focus is left firmly on the lyric itself. The overall result is another good song that feels complete.

This album is quite possibly Fatboy Slim's most sample based to date - in Mi Bebe Masoquista, for example, it sounds like he sampled a single note played on a TB-303 and wrote a melody with it, foregoing the gradually increasing cutoff point that has become the instrument's trademark sound in favour of panning it hard left and hard right with alternating notes. It works very well, and when placed in the song's context with its heavy bassline and pounding drums, the overall sound is as catchy as it is powerful. Forget just dancing to this song: it's hard to resist the temptation to mime playing the smoothly panned drum fill.

Mi Bebe Masoquista also has its genuinely humorous moments, from the extended fill that sounds like a sample of an old TV theme tune, to the one part of the whole album that always makes me laugh: I can't get the image out of my head of Fatboy Slim sifting through his record collection during the early hours of the morning, refusing to go to bed until he finally finds an obscure sample of someone enthusiastically shouting "Whoar!" to put in this song.

Overall, while this isn't a perfect album, and some of the tracks are pretty forgettable, it's still great fun to listen to for the most part. At the very least, it's worth checking out Wonderful Night, Mi Bebe Masoquista and The Journey.