Pioneering producer, Richard “Parrot” Barratt, perhaps better known these days by the moniker, Crooked Man, collaborates with the marvelous Marley “Lady Blackbird” Monroe, as Athletes Of God, on a cracking cover of Randy Crawford`s moving mid-80s number, I Don’t Wanna Be Normal. The results are a dynamite demonstration of Foundation Music’s Ross Allen’s A&R chops.
Barratt, one of the men behind Sheffield`s “Bleep”, turns in a trio of mixes, that slowly, seamlessly morph from sleazy Balearic electro to futuristic, forward-thinking street soul. From a fierce forceful chug, to a sleek, spaced-out, epic, set to subtle emotive synthetic strings. Following in the footsteps of his amazing rework of Amy Douglas` Never Saw It Coming, from 2018, while also echoing classics from a lot further back in his catalogue, such as The Step`s Yeah You. The bass throughout is big, bulbous, wobbly and wonky.
All 3 takes stay centred on the vocal. There are no dubs here, and rightly so. The beautiful Blackbird for this outing forgoing the jazz, to indulge in some bluesier belting. The super smart lyric, and chorus especially, is something that`s surely gonna resonate – send shivers down the spine of – anyone and everyone who’s ever felt like they don’t fit in. It`s a shout out to the freaks. Folks who’ve been shoved about at school, at home, or both. Bods who’ve been taunted, teased, and bullied, by contemporaries, for being different. A song of solidarity for those tired of getting pushed around, for those who’ve taken so much that the only option left, is a life-defining point of no return. A defiant, “Fuck you!”* A powerful reading of an anthem for the underdog, that packs a real punch, it`s a song that`s sad, but strong. Beaten but undefeated.
Athletes Of God`s Don’t Wanna Be Normal is out now, on Foundation Music. Label, if you’re looking, please vinyl us up.