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Hands on ... Skullcandy Crusher

On Hogmanay I made a New Year's resolution that I would never again review a pair of headphones.

After all, most models above £50 are fairly decent and there's only so much you can write about the subtle differences between aluminium and titanium tweeters.

That resolution lasted all of two weeks before a press released landed from Skullcandy, a fashion-led headphone brand that I wouldn't normally consider. What piqued my interest was an included video entitled First Reactions which shows people trying their latest Crusher headphones for the first time. The universal reaction in the video is disbelief as listeners are subjected to a level of bass normally reserved for concerts and nightclubs.

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This isn't the kind of bass that is discussed at length in hi-fi magazines. It isn't tight, controlled and finely balanced. It's big, boisterous and flabby. If you've ever stood on Glasgow's Union Street on a Saturday night and watched as modified Vauxhall Corsas stream past with their subwoofers rattling the windows - then these headphones are exactly that, made portable.

So where's the attraction? For gentle acoustic and classical music there arguably isn't any - the extra bass rarely adds to the track and often detracts. But for dance tracks they have merit. My best memories of the Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive or Skrillex's Bangarang didn't happen in a sterile listening room, they happened in booming, shaking bars and clubs.

Everything from Daft Punk to the Wu-Tang Clan is given an extra, club-like dimension with the Crusher bass enabled. James Blunt? Not so much.

The benefit is that this level of bass can be experienced at entirely sensible volumes, making this a great way to enjoy party tunes without disturbing others or risking hearing damage.

The Crushers have the now-obligatory iPhone mic and remote on the cable, allowing wearers to take calls and interact with the voice assistant, Siri. On most headphones this option is a welcome addition, but here it feels a bit unnecessary: these headphones are worn to party, and who wants their party gatecrashed by a telesales call?

Whenever I'm asked to test an oddball product such as this I like to imagine the designer's eureka moment - that split second when they first dreamt up their idea for vibrating headphones. With the Skullcandy Crushers, my mental image was of a designer sitting in a room full of dance records and an Ann Summers catalogue. That opinion was reaffirmed by one of my test subjects who joked that they couldn't decide whether to wear them on their head or sit on them.

It's easy to be snobbish about these headphones. Their finish is plasticky, their output is unrefined and their styling is a little gauche. But music is supposed to be about enjoyment and these headphones make me smile from ear to ear.

Skullcandy Crusher, £89.99

Rating: 4/5

Positives: Big, bold and bags of fun.

Negatives: Unrefined and a little pricey.

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