The Shamen – Boss Drum (1992): Review

shamen

Label – One Little Indian

By 1992 The Shamen were effectively a duet with composer and chief instrumentalist Colin Angus and rapper/vocalist Richard West (Mr C). Founder member Will Sinnott had been tragically drowned off the coast of Tenerife during the making of the video for “Move Any Mountain”, the breakthrough single. Following consultation with Sinnott’s family, the decision was taken to continue with the project, and just a year later “Boss Drum” would build on the success of its predecessor “En-Tact” reaching number three in the UK album charts.

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Heavily inspired by the rave and drug culture that was prevalent at the time, the record is filled to the brim with synthetic dance beats and heavily produced samples. There are some strong singles, including “L.S.I.”,”Phorever People” and the title track. Although the beats sound dated there are enough powerful hooks to keep the listener briefly entertained. The annoying “Ebeneezer Goode” would be a UK number one single, and one can undoubtedly attribute increased sales from the airplay ban by the BBC. At the time the band would continually deny the claim that the lyrics celebrated the use of Ecstasy, but nobody was fooled and the record would always be considered as notorious as it was successful. The remainder of the album is frankly, hard work. Experimental dance/trance experimentation can become tiresome after repeated listens, so avoid the album tracks “Librae Solidi Denari”, “Scientas” and “Re-evolution”.

“Boss Drum” sparkles for a few brief minutes but as a collection probably only makes sense if you’re off your face and lying on your back in some random field with little control of either thoughts or bladder.

6/10

Track Listing
1.”Boss Drum” – 6:26
2.”LSI (Love Sex Intelligence)” – 3:43
3.”Space Time” – 4:58
4.”Librae Solidi Denari” – 5:26
5.”Ebeneezer Goode (Band Mix)” – 4.31
6.”Comin’ On” – 4:27
7.”Phorever People” – 4:52
8.”Fatman” – 5:39
9.”Scientas” – 5:38
10.”Re:Evolution” – 8:22

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