Since their Self-Titled release way back in 1997, the duo known as Bentley Rhythm Ace have sort of become the court jesters of electronic music. Although their debut album sort of fell into the category known as 'big beat' at the time, they became known nearly as much for their crazy onstage antics while DJing and playing as they did their music. If you've been fortunate enough to hear their 2CD mix release FSUK 3 for Ministry Of Sound Recordings, you'll not only find yourself grooving your booty and laughing a bit in the process, but you'll also notice that 'eclectic' is probably a loose term in describing the sheer amounts of different music that they put together in the 130 minutes of music on the release.
Upon first listen to For Your Ears Only, it's easy to tell that the duo that comprises the group has been toying with tons of different ideas since their last release. Upon first listen, it's almost dissappointing to only find a couple tracks with the dancefloor slam and huge builds and releases of their last disc. After subsequent listens, though, it's obvious that their sense of humour has remained thoroughly intact and while not every single thing they try works, it's still a very enjoyable listen.
Like the wacky fellows they are, the disc opens up with a short track of gurgling noises and a mild beat backed by a heavenly sounding chorus called "Ride Your Sleigh..." Of course, from there, they drop right off into the wacky "T-Spot," which sounds like a proper lampooning of a spy theme song with proper horns offset with slide whistles and all kinds of other clicking and clacking. Just to continue the oddities, "Theme From Gutbuster" starts out with some pretty chiming sounds before becoming a rumbling track replete with the vocals of "Feel it in your gut/Get up and move your butt." The BPM is a little higher than on previous tracks, but it's still not anywhere near the burners of album past.
The middle part of the album keeps things interesting with another trio of strange songs for the group. The first is "A Lot Of Stick (But Not Much Butter)" in which Kermit from Black Grape takes on vocal duties of a track that sounds like looney toon cartoon music injected with a beat and some other strange noises. On "Summer Song Blue," the group starts out with a beautiful, ambient track before cutting to some more funhouse beat madness and then simmering down again. Rounding out things is "Busyness Mans Lunch," another super-goofy track that sounds like flapper techno (and I'm not even joking).
After getting bogged down for a couple tracks, the album closes out on a very strong note with the one-two punch of "Kenny Beats (Part One)" and "How'd I Do Dat???" The former is probably the most like any track off their first album with the speedy BPM and mega sense of fun, while the latter again uses vocalist Kermit in what should have been one of the catchiest tracks of last year, injecting a bit of two-tone ska sound into a highly catchy track. As mentioned above, don't expect nearly the same album from the group. For Your Ears Only isn't meant for the dancefloor, but it's still a lot of fun without sounding like anyone else.