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Roots Manuva - Slime And Reason

Roots Manuva, Slime & Reason

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

THE fourth album from Roots Manuva – aka Rodney Smith – came about after the artist decided to look back to his roots and the music that moved him before he’d even heard hip-hop.

The result, Slime And Reason, is a diverse blend of C-funk, techno-ragga, dancehall and electronica that certainly boasts an individual sound – and Roots is doing his own thing. But it’s also a very long and frequently dull listen that marks a major step backwards from the standard set by Awfully Deep and its sister record, Alternately Deep.

Admittedly, things begin brightly with the spritely skank carnival anthem Again & Again, which will probably set the vibe for countless Notting Hill knees-up at carnival time. But even then the album’s woes begin to creep in.

An electronic female vocal that weaves its way in and out of almost every song is just plain irritating and makes you ponder quite what Rodney was thinking.

CRUFF is billed as melancholy funk and emerges as quite depressing – droning even – and there’s the unwanted return of that female vocal again!

Do Nah Bodda Mi thrives on a more funky vibe and some forceful female backing vocals, which offer an interesting variation, while Metronomy’s Let The Spirit offers an interesting piece of “blue-eyed” electro-funk. It’s arguably one of the standout tracks and certainly capable of delivering Rodney a sizeable hit.

But tracks like Kick Up Ya Foot and A Man’s Talk fail to back up some of the intelligent lyricism with good sounds or back-beats.

Former single Buff Nuff, meanwhile, is pure throw-away stuff – the sound of Roots at his most commercial and – arguably – most annoying. It drones on and on, complete with repetitive lyrics.

The gospel backing given to It’s Me Oh Lord almost gets things back on track, but it’s short-lived as 2 Much 2 Soon is another disappointment – a downbeat effort that tended to drag this listener down with it.

I’m A New Man drops one of the liveliest beats on the LP but still manages to offer only a droning vocal, as does Well Alright, but the biggest frustration is that cursed electronic female vocal which really undermines any of the good work Rodney puts in.

A lot of critics will doubtless hail Slime And Reason as another work of extraordinary vision from this tireless urban artist. But while there’s no faulting the scope of his ambition, this fourth collection of songs [14 in total!] has to go down as one of his biggest disappointments.

Download picks: Again & Again, Do Nah Bodda Mi, It’s Me Oh Lord, Let The Spirit, I’m A New Man

Track listing:

  1. Again And Again
  2. CRUFF
  3. Do Nah Bodda Mi
  4. Let The Spirit
  5. Kick Up Ya Foot
  6. Man’s Talk
  7. Buff Nuff
  8. It’s Me Oh Lord
  9. 2 Much 2 Soon
  10. Do 4 Self
  11. Show Must Go On
  12. I’m A New Man
  13. Well Alright
  14. Struggle

  1. The “cursed electronic female vocal” is the watermark that was on the promo copies in an attempt to stop people downloading the album for free before its release. It’s not present on the CD you buy in the shops or on licensed downloads! It think you’ve done the album a disservice here.

    Dangerous Dave    Sep 2    #
  2. “An electronic female vocal that weaves its way in and out of almost every song is just plain irritating and makes you ponder quite what Rodney was thinking.”

    these are called “spoilers”. it’s a type of copy protection that some record labels use. you’re not meant to treat them like they’re part of the music. music reviewers should know that sort of stuff.

    tony    Sep 3    #
  3. Valid points made by the two contributors, but something tells me Jack woul;dn’t have liked the album anyway! Not his type… probab;y tyhe “electronic female vocal” didn’t help! But I, too, was disappointed with the album. I love Roots, and both singles have been great, but the album as a whole failed to match the quality of those releases… except perhaps It’s Me Oh Lord.

    Emma    Sep 3    #