This Fun Lovin’ Criminals article was written by Rosie Conning, a GIGsoup contributor
If we could scroll back down the musical timeline, we’d see that Fun Lovin’ Criminals released their debut album ‘Come find yourself’ an entire twenty years ago this week, all the way back in 1996. ‘Come Find Yourself’ was perhaps the most successful album that the band released, with three songs cruising their way into the UK top 40 in the true groove, easy-going style that the band promoted. This album seems to tell a story as if from the perspective of a New York gangster in typical Sopranos style; it’s like the soundtrack to a vintage gangster film with Huey Morgan at the forefront as their lead play-actor.
Fun Lovin’ Criminals trio, comprising of Huey Morgan (vocalist), Brian Leiser (multi-instrumentalist) and Steve Borgovini (drummer), never adopted a single musical style, but incorporated various influences of Hip-Hop, alternative rock, jazz, blues, soul and funk. Despite the success of their 2001 album ‘Loco’ where their song Loco reached no.5 in the UK charts, it’s fair to admit that the trio’s best days are behind them. The following albums do well to adhere to the soft groove that their debut album adopts, but this becomes somewhat ordinary and unremarkable, which is perhaps why they are often dubbed under the title of a ‘one-hit-wonder’ band. It must have been especially difficult to make a greater impact when they had to compete with the likes of The Beastie Boys and Aerosmith who also combined rock and rap. In this respect, ‘Come Find Yourself’ can easily be bypassed as an album but some songs will certainly bring back an element of nostalgia to any 90s rebels. Fun Lovin’ Criminals and King of New York both made it into the UK charts, with UK listener’s buying into the gangster New York City groove. This was not quite as well received in the USA
‘Scooby Snacks’ is featured on this album and remains one of the bands most popular songs, even twenty years on. The song consists of gritty lyrics, ‘and I don’t give a fuck about the hell’s gate, ain’t punkin’ the crowd and I’m still standing up straight,’ Morgan taunts. We even hear snippets of memorable lines from Tarantino films amongst the scattered rap and fine guitar work. It appears that Morgan has been underrated as a guitarist and surprisingly it is the bonus track ‘I can’t get with that’, that best exemplifies his raw talent. The smooth baseline and brilliant guitar solo is just encaptivating and almost sexy in its style; it’s a shame that the trio didn’t experiment further with this sort of genre. ‘Coney Island Girl’ is the other bonus track on the album and another great composition with varying vocal volumes and more technical guitar art.
All in all, this is great alternative rock, back in the day when bands played guitars. ‘Come Find Yourself’ sticks to a smooth groove and makes for easy, laid back listening. It’s a shame that the record label didn’t promote Fun Lovin’ Criminals as much as they could have done, because there was definite potential within this album for wider success.