Roots Manuva, "Awfully Deep"
-album cover courtesy of Big Dada/Banana Klan-
Ever since Rodney Smith, aka Roots Manuva, was a kid holding on to his mum's hand in a British skate park, he had been infatuated with big bass. Growing up in Stockwell, South London, Roots Manuva developed an unconditional love for the sound-system culture. He studied DJs such as Eek-A-Mouse and Asher Senator and is putting a much-needed spotlight back onto the British hip-hop scene.
If you are familiar with other British hip-hoppers, such as Dizzee Rascal and the Streets, you'll be ready for Roots Manuva. Actually, if you can handle the abnormal antics of Rascal and the Streets, then you'll be prepared for Manuva. His electro/trip-hop music is weird, but not as weird as Rascal's Playstation music, so it may be a little easier to digest if Rascal's music is too much.
Roots Manuva sees his voice as an "expressive tool limited only by his imagination," according to www.okayplayer.com. He sounds fairly original, but for most of the time he is slightly inaudible or at least sounds as if his vocals are moving faster than his mouth will let him. His accent does not interfere with his sound, but at times it is difficult to tell if he is British or Jamaican.
The album is a good debut, however, it never manages to find a secure area in which the listener will find a hook into the music. "Too Cold" is like a hip-hop waltz through a self-pity party, and "A Haunting" has an eerie, Righteous Brothers-esque backdrop, which is catchy in a weird way.
"Babylon Medicine" shows Manuva's calypso/reggae influence that is a product of his parents' Jamaican upbringing. "Chin High" is the album's best track and acts as a beefy, motivational anthem: "chin high/puff chest/we step right to it/the choices?/there ain't no choice but to pursue it."
Dynamite Club, "It's Deeper Than Most People Actually Think …"
-Album cover courtesy of Funhole Records
Is this New York City trio actually deeper than you think? The answer is no.
In comparison to some of the shallowest bands in the world, Dynamite Club is pretty much at the surface level. Hey, what can you expect from a band that has a singer who wears only his whitey-tighties onstage with "Dynamite Club" written on his butt?
Dynamite Club doesn't rehearse before live shows, and during the band's live shows, two members spend most of the time swinging from the balcony while the third simply makes as much noise as possible on whatever instrument is available. Usually at some point in their performance, two members jump offstage and into a mud pit, and from there they perform kung fu kicks on one another.
Dynamite Club is structured, (or destructed) as though some jazz musicians learned how to play every genre of music and then found a way in and out of an insane asylum. Each song is a cluster of random noises and manages to break off into some sort of nihilistic tantrum.
This album is simply just too weird. Seventeen tracks of goofy noises and random German and Asian accents will make you scratch your head and wonder if your brain just fell out. But, there is one good thing: You will be laughing most of the time.
Dynamite Club takes punk and jazz elements and destroys them in spastic attempts to make them funny. It is not a rock album; it is a comedy album. If you enjoy intelligent humor, keep in mind that this band's hilarity makes MTV's "Jackass" look like the "English Patient."
Obnoxious punk/jazz guitars, percussion, samples, pianos, saxophones and even a glockenspiel combine to create outer-spaced circus music made from the gloved hands of a bunch of dopey clowns packed into a car way too small for any serious air to leak into. Whew!
Dynamite Club could have picked up where NOFX left off on the comedic-tip, but its members are too busy playing into shock and amusement to really collect any sort of respect or prestigious value. But then again, that is probably Dynamite Club's intention in this world.
The song "Algebra Test #20: Fungi" is only strange stock recordings of some guy ranting about sex and fungi as phase guitars crawl around in the backdrop. In the middle of the song, the members break into a Dick Dale-like surf tune, which starts sounding really cool until they decide to get all goofy again.
There is not any real, actual singing on this album. The song "Junkie" sounds like the band members throwing their instruments around while screaming at the top of their lungs in a limb-ripping fashion. "Evil" is a dirty, filthy and sweaty thrash-metal mockery that breaks off into more screams, but this time the screams are from a psychotic girl and go on for almost a minute.
Guess what the song "Let's Get Wet" sounds like? OK, here's a hint: CRAP! And what do you suppose happens in the middle of the song? Yep, you guessed it, more screaming, balcony dangling and kung fu mud wrestling!
With all this nonsense and noise just thrown onto an album, how did this band get a record deal? Play this album and you will get kicked out of your parent's basement in no time.