20 Watts

20 Watts Reviews Crookers’s Tons of Friends by jluposello

Crookers's Tons of Friends.

PREVIEW: VISIT Crookers’s MySpace

WE GIVE IT: 12/20 Watts

If nothing else, the latest release from Italy’s fastest growing electro-duo Crookers win this year’s award for the most appropriately titled album. Their most recent effort, Tons of Friends, features a staggering 20-track lineup of collaborations with the likes of will.I.am, Spank Rock, Miike Snow, Kelis, Pitbull and Crookers’s old friend, Kid Cudi, among others. While the features list that comes along with the eclectic (that’s an understatement) sound on the record is enough to make listeners drool all over their iPods, the sound presents a mostly unfocused sound punctuated by just a few gems.

Crookers have never been shy about their aversion to becoming tied to one specific genre. Sure, they’ve gained most of their popularity via their recent domination of the Italian club scene, but beneath layers of house beats and broad synth textures lay an unmistakable hip-hop influence. The duo’s remix of Cudi’s “Day ‘N’ Nite” is arguably what gained the duo their notoriety, and they pay homage to their hip-hop roots in several of the collaborations on the record.

While the record is impressive in it’s ability to produce potential singles, it seems largely disjointed and creates an attention-deficit listening experience that makes the record difficult to digest in succession. However, a few winners, such as Kelis’s “No Security,” which features an infectious, dubstep-influenced backing track, snap you back into focus during the constant genre-hopping the duo performs.

Other notable moments, such as their collaboration with Cudi on “Embrace the Martian,” unfortunately don’t prevent the album from sounding like much more than a recreational romp in the studio. The individual cuts rarely take on the form of focused, creative processes, which hurts the record as a whole.

In the end, Crookers made a record for the dance floor, not the listening room. A few of the tracks exist as diamonds in the rough, but ultimately get lost amidst a sea of unfocused and diluted genre schizophrenia.

-John Luposello

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