Yes, the title's an awful pun, but Roderick Roots Manuva Smith returns to record-releasing ways with a package certain to attract both long-term followers and curious newcomers alike.
The former demographic will know only too well how Roots' laconic delivery is next to unmatched in UK hip-hop; the man's mastery of the understated and downbeat is second to none, and his considered approach, while slow in places, is never lazy. Forgive the preaching to the converted if you're one of the aforementioned - it's a necessary evil of the critical process - but Roots is at the top if his game, and new track 'Seat Yourself' only reinforces that position.
The curious, perhaps tuning in courtesy of Roots' work with Audio Bullys and Gorillaz, are likely to turn towards the rapper's past material (his most recent collection, Awfully Deep, is among the year's finest long-play efforts of its ilk) after hearing the Lambeth Blues take on said record's title track. Why? Damon Albarn contributes some fine, and perfectly sombre, piano work to accompany Roots' engrossing lyrics. The music about the pair, crafted by Manuva's live band, never shifts from a smoky second gear, and the result is a pitch-perfect trip into trip-hop territories of old, given a dusty retread and pocket concealed brass knuckles.
Dear The Uninitiated, please hop on here.
7Mike Diver's Score