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Album Cover Howie B - Snatch (Pussyfoot)

Like its creator, a man who manages to produce both the utterly middle of the road U2 albums and run one of the best independent labels in Britain, "Snatch" appears to be in two minds. At first listen it is a far cry from the edgy beats and horn stabs of its predecessor "Turn the Dark Off". It opens with 'Gallway' and for the next four or so tracks you could be forgiven for assuming you'd bought an album that had been recorded down a particularly long drain pipe with beats provided by an ageing tumble-dryer.

When things pick up from this funereal pace, it is almost a return to the form of "Turn the Dark Off", fat black bass-lines and dubbed up beats course through the tracks' veins. The beats on 5 threaten to kick themselves out of your speakers and hammer themselves to the floor. Gone are the gravedigger melodies and here are the bass-lines you can share with the street. 6 starts as pure funk and chopped up beats and gradually gather shreds of sound as it rolls. 7, meanwhile, slides back and forth like the tide; an almost overpowering bass is gently tickled by glittering acoustic strings and offset by the occasional 70s guitar riff.

So, "Snatch" has a split personality, one half Dr. Fickle to one half Mr. Fly? Not quite. Clamp headphones on your tiny head and the tracks are transformed. Gallway becomes Pole-esque the crackling rhythm's hidden in the ether threaten to snap your cheekbones and remix your heartbeat. The following tracks are equally resurrected, complex beats and melodies hang by their fingertips. The transformation is startling. Despite your first and worst fears it appears that "Snatch" can also grab you.

by Robert Lowe.