Shanks & Bigfoot - Sing A Long
It's been over a year since "Sweet Like Chocolate" became UK Garage's opening salvo on the pop charts - a deathly silence for a pop or dance act. So long in fact that I'd ceased to think of Shanks & Bigfoot as garage's commercial leading lights; they'd been totally superseded by The Artful Dodger, destined perhaps to be the lost one hit wonders of the scene. With that in mind, perhaps the best thing about "Sing A Long" is how supremely unselfconscious it is, and how totally unconcerned the duo seem to be about the long pause and the countless shifting of units that stretches between that song and this one.
Actually "Sing A Long" is almost a regression, its shuffling beats and sparse production resembling a more soulful cousin to first single "Straight From The Heart", as opposed to "Sweet Like Chocolate"'s slinky panache. From the choppy beats to the bassline so familiar and reassuring I refuse to believe it's original, this track is too obviously garage to achieve a similar radical assimilation with pure pop as its predecessor, but now that even Posh Spice has gone 2-step, that's hardly a consideration.
More important to Shanks & Bigfoot's wallets is the singalong factor, which is unsurprisingly enormous. Even more than Sweet Female Attitude's "Flowers", this is garage so unambiguously sunny and uplifting that if you were to criticise these guys for selling out you wouldn't even know where to begin. Is it intelligent? Experimental? Progressive? Hell no. But you will find yourself absent-mindedly singing "When it's raining down on me..." very soon. You do not have a choice in this matter. All hail the Max Martins of 2-step.