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Roots Manuva - Alternately Deep

Roots Manuva, Alternately Deep

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

RODNEY Smith (aka Roots Manuva) continues to be at the forefront of the urban music scene thanks to his ability to consistently deliver something new to the genre.

His last album Awfully Deep won widespread acclaim, yet was so painstakingly constructed that it left Rodney with something of a dilemma. Having produced the best part of 30 tracks, how would he get them all on one album?

The answer comes in the form of this follow-up, Alternately Deep, a strong collection of downloads, B-sides, exclusives and tracks that have never been released before.

Its PR states that ‘it’s the same record as Awfully Deep transported to an alternate universe’, although much more raw and stripped down that its predecessor.

It also boasts plenty of collaborators, from grime producer Jammer, to Lotek, Colossus, Easy Access Orchestra and live vocal partner, Ricky Ranking.

For the most part, it’s another strong addition to the Roots Manuva CV, boasting some really gritty urban anthems that benefit from the alternative spin put on them.

Highlights include the distinctly urban flavoured Double Drat with its searing vocal melodies and urgent beat, and Things We Do which drops a smart bassline beat that’s not a million miles away from 50 Cent’s In Da Club.

Mean Street, meanwhile, offers a scintillating blend of Eastern rhythms that really help it to stand out as the killer cut on the album, especially when the vocal layering kicks in. The various beats and Eastern strings really do enhance the overall quality of the track.

Some equally smart scratching coupled with a hip beat help to ensure that Grown Man draws proceedings to a satisfying close.

As with any urban album such as this, the vocals are so distinct and deep that they can get monotonous and there are certain tracks that fail to register as strongly as others.

But in the main this is an excellent effort that looks set to further the Roots Manuva success story, while also winning new fans in the process. He continues to set the standards that so many urban artists fail to reach.

Track listing:

  1. No Love
  2. Seat Yourself
  3. Double Drat
  4. Nobody’s Dancing
  5. Things We Do
  6. Check It
  7. Get U High
  8. Colossal Insight
  9. Mean Street
  10. Pep My Game
  11. This World Is Mine
  12. Grown Man