Source - 2003 - 47 minutes

After the Streets, here come the Footpaths, the Lampposts, the Gutters and the Sewers. Like any talented innovator, Mike Skinner has copyists and rip-off merchants swarming in his wake and the Audio Bullys' mixture of dancefloor tracks and laconic cockney rhymes means that they are first off the blocks.

Their twist on the Streets formula? Beats that are more breaks-heavy than Skinner's upfront garage. And bad lyrics along the lines of "About a year I was with her for/and when we broke up it left me quite sore." It's hardly the most appetising package, particularly when frontman Simon Franks lacks the charm and wit to make his London geezer persona anything other than irritating.

But failing to reach the high standards of 'Original Pirate Material' doesn't necessarily mean that Audio Bully's debut is a bad record. The duo's mouthy mash-up of house, punk and whatever else is on the stereo that day often hits the spot. Hooligan house might be the name of the sub-genre, but 'Ego War's better moments range all over the musical spectrum. The dub spaghetti western of 'Turned Away' and the fuzzed-up soft-rock sampling 'Face In A Cloud' both work well.

But there are plenty of duds here as well. The full-on organ sound of 'Veteran' fails to compensate for a hackneyed groove and dull lyrics, and the third-hand Daft Punkisms of 'Hit The Ceiling' are desperately uninspired.

It's a quick buck for the two geezers for the suburbs and a passable racket for us. But don't expect anyone to remember this record in three years time. Mediocrity is alive and well and living in London.

Luke McManus

Tracklisting: Snake - 100 Million - Way Too Long - Turned Away (Radio Edit) - Real Life - We Don't Care (Dirty Version) - Face In A Cloud - The Tyson Shuffle - The Things (Album Version) - Veteran - The Snow - I Go To Your House - Hit The Ceiling - Ego War - Somewhere In The Middle (Hidden Track)