The place to find and share independent music. From hip-hop to pop, dubstep to drum n bass; Beatnik is your filter.
“If you’re a diehard Manuva fan, you’ll have fun with this one.”
Everybody should just give up and call Roots Manuva a prophet right now. Seemingly not content with just reshaping the British musical landscape whenever he drops an album, Rodney Smith has now turned his talents to predicting the future. 4Everevolution, his fifth solo album, might have spent the past two years or so in development, but the time period it’s dropping in is… well, it’s uncanny.
At a time when Britain is tearing itself apart over senseless rioting, Mr Manuva has dropped a record so current, so wonderfully on-point that it’s hard to believe it wasn’t put together in one mad dash last week. The first half of the album is a meditation on the breakdown of society, with Roots in full lament mode on the excellent ‘Here We Go Again’ and ‘Skid Valley’. He’s hardly a youth himself these days, but these are tracks you’ll be bumping again and again and again now.
We tend to trust Mr Manuva with most things. He might be a little bonkers half of the time and almost completely insane the rest of it, but the man can make a good track. So 4ER (as we’ve decided to call it – let’s face it, it’s a bloody silly name) is characteristically dense, oddball and wonderfully deep. For the first half of the album, at least, it’s a vintage Manuva sound with a new angle.
But while some artists have difficult-second-album problems, Roots has difficult-second-half problems. Everything’s fine until the absurdly cheerful ditty ‘Wha’Mek’ comes out of nowhere and switches the direction entirely. It’s deeply unsettling, like running into the Easter bunny at an underground boxing match. And it’s a problem that extends to most of the tracks that follow it: things are just too bouncy and synthy, and it’s only in the anthemic The Path that he gets some of his mojo back.
If Roots had stayed the course entirely, and sliced down the length some (the album is weighty, at seventeen tracks) he’d have had another classic along the lines of the recent Slime and Reason. As it stands, there are enough great tracks here for a brilliant EP, but just not enough for a brilliant full-length record. Still, if you’re a diehard Manuva fan, you’ll have fun with this one.
words Rob Boffard