Roni Size/Reprazent, In the Mode (Talkin' Loud/Island): In my excellent (sorry, it was) review of Size's debut, New Forms, I wrote that it was "too Sgt. Pepper before there was even a drum & bass Meet the Beatles to 'improve upon'." Well, I'm absolutely stunned to report that this is indeed his Meet the Beatles. What that means today is an average track length of 4:48 and one disc instead of two, but for sure, it helps. So does the fact that each track comes in the door not just with bells on, but also whistles, car alarms, police sirens, howlin' tsunamis... Instead of pummeling the ears or clickety-clacketing into space, the huge rhythms rock the way Jam & Lewis (a.k.a. God) intended, while Size's vocal infantry (including guests Zack de la Rocha, Rahzel and Method Man) ride on top like Kyle MacLachlan bucking the spice worms in "Dune." It's a non-stop party without bothering with the pretense of throwing one (cf. Apollo 440, Lo-Fidelity All-Stars, even Fatboy Slim). But, though I hate to be persnickety about such a damn near miraculous development (or do I mean undevelopment?), I remain somewhat unmoved. New Forms forced you to take sides. Even though In the Mode is the better album, it rocks for 76 minutes, you bang your head, and then you forget about it. Nothing wrong with that, but I expect something a little more compelling out of a Meet the Beatles. My suggestion for next time: an expanded lyric bank and shameless samples. — Kevin John

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