Sanctuary - 2003 - 54 minutes

Like a friend who's never done with the Joe Pesci impressions, Fun Lovin' Criminals' wiseguy shtick can push the wrong buttons in even the biggest 'Goodfellas' fan. They've been peddling it for four full albums now and whatever escapism it offered back in the late 90's, it's very old now. Named after their deli of choice, 'Welcome to Poppy's' serves up plenty of reheats and only a few tastes of the real talents of Huey and Fast.

The New York punk rock of 'Lost it All' sounds like it was thrown together in minutes but has an energy that this album's glut of duck 'n' dive tales can't match. It's followed by the best thing they've done in years, 'Friday Night'. Forget about the lyrics, because the groove is so sweet that the song deserves to be played every weekend for a decade.

That's as good as 'Welcome to Poppy's gets, the rest is an all-you-can stomach buffet of non-events and self-parody where even the biggest fan should be upset about getting landed with the bill. There's no doubt that as players - in the musical sense - FLC have plenty to show off, but you know they can write far better than this.

Hopefully they do too.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Too Hot - Stray Bullit - Living on the Streets - Lost it All - Friday Night - You Got a Problem - You Got a Problem - Running for Cover - Take Me Back - What Had Happened? - Got Our Love - This Sick World - Steak Knife - Beautiful - Baby - You Just Can't Have it All